We get a number of clients that tell us they have sourced their own images for their website. When we ask where they got them from, they reply “Google images”.
Oh dear… You’ve probably just broken the law.
FREE or not FREE
Some clients will naturally ask us to help them source images and photographs for their website design.
Others wish to source the images themselves and this is where we have to be very careful.
We always ask where an image has been sourced from and more and more people reply “Google Images”
Google Images are not FREE
Google is just a search engine.
Google Images is just a part of that search engine, so if you are looking for an image of say a ‘parrot’ it’s a great way to see a collection of ‘parrot related images’
Sadly that’s as far as you should go.
You must not copy the images that Google presents to you, just as you must not copy anything else that Google finds for you.
All Google is doing is pointing you at other websites or images on other websites.
Whatever images you’ve found are covered by many copyright laws and you need the owner’s permission to copy or reproduce them in any way.
If you copy (right click / save as…) images from a website without the express permission of the website owner, you are breaking the law.
You must never just steal images from a website that Google Images has found for you and use them for yourself.
So where should I get images from?
Your website designer will be able to point you in the right direction here.
There are many online stock photo libraries available where you can search the millions of photographs that you are looking for to use on your website.
Some of them are free, but for high quality images you will have to pay a small amount. Usually a couple of pounds will buy you an image of suitable size for most websites.
What about Products?
Even if you are promoting products for sale on your website and you are acting as a reseller, you still need permission to use their photographs.
Sure, 99% of manufacturers will be happy for you to reuse a photograph of their product if you are selling it on. After all you are both going to make money from the sale.
However, it’s always best to get written permission to do so just in case.
If you are in any doubt about the copyright of an image, just ask the person who you think owns the image.
Or, ask your website designer for some advice.
If you are still in doubt, don’t use it.