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Understanding the Copyright Laws of Photography

The internet is a viable avenue to browse and appreciate photographs. In fact, a well-known social media website has revealed in a white paper that its users are uploading around 350 million new photos each day. With the aggressive development in technology day after day, it’s very easy to download, copy, use or print photos we like but don’t own.

This is when the copyright laws of photography make the scene. These laws are meant to protect and give exclusive rights to the photographs’ creators.
We do understand that small-business owners have tight budgets and there’s often  little to no money for buying stock photos. However, when they opt to use free images that are readily downloadable there are risks.

Each image has its own copyright. Be attentive, sensitive and be informed when making the decision to use them. Before posting the free image you borrowed, here are guidelines you need to follow to avoid being caught due to plagiarism.

Ways to Borrow Content (photo, music, visuals, etc.)

If you borrow a photo for your blog entry, articles, infographics, or website, you can simply contact the copyright owner and ask for permission. Other ways are as follows:

  • If the photos you’ll borrow have watermarks or copyright imprinted anywhere in the photo, make an effort to still check the image rights. Educate yourself if the photos can be used for non-commercial reuse or the photos can be modified.
  • Always give credit to the image’s owner. It is very important to give the author credit for their work – you can simply indicate their name or link back to the person or the webpage you’ve downloaded the photo.
Giving the photo owner its credit can be a win-win situation for both parties. By using the image and giving photo credits, you are promoting the artist’s works. Generally, they appreciate this and will allow you to use their photos. Sometimes, however, this is not the case and you must honor the creators wishes.