Images, Rights and Internet

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A website is a public venue. As the owner of a website, you must ensure that you have the rights to broadcast your content.

Generally, the images on the web are not free to use.

It is easy to copy images to a website and use them. Some search engines offer the same opportunity to find images on the entire web by keywords... An array of images is revealed ... everything is available with a simple right click of the mouse.

But these images are not free to use. Copyright are linked to them. Photographers or graphic artists have prepared the scenes, lighting, paid models, took pictures and edited to make them so enticing.

These images are protected by copyright. Copyright is the exclusive right to use and reproduce the work. If the right is exclusive, it means that without the author permission, it is forbidden to use it in any manner whatsoever.

The risk of contravening the law on copyright

With new graphics technology recognition software, the owners of copyright, both in text content and graphic content have tools to detect and track down offenders

TINEYE image recognition software:

Micro stock companies (which sell usage rights for the authors) use these technologies. And the final invoices can be quite high for the ones getting caught. From $400 per image for simple usage, to hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases of corporate usage. Getty Images is currently in a large campaign of lawsuits for websites violating the laws on copyright.

Click here to view a report on Radio-Canada - La Facture (French) | Original

Consider that YES ! If you have not received any rights or permission to use an image, or those rights not explicitly freed: you are violating copyright. If no indication on the site indicates that you have the right to use an image, you cannot.

When in doubt, you must locate the copyright owner or the person / organization that can transfer you usage rights. Either the author or the site where you can buy the license.

The world of micro stocks

Micro stocks are commercial banks of content available for online purchase. They sell licenses for images.

Getty Images has been a pioneer in this market. It is intended for professionals. Their licenses are pretty complex and linked to multiple parameters. The country of broadcast, type of business, the broadcasting time and others. As an example, on Getty Images, an image costs between $ 50 and $ 575 depending on its size. Packs of 5 or 10 images are available reducing the unit price of a photo. A pack of 5 small images costs $ 800 for example, compared to $ 4500 for a pack of 10 images whose size is maximum.

iStockphoto are somewhat more affordable.  An image corresponds to a credit. So for $ 13 you can buy a picture. A monthly and annual subscription is also possible depending on the number of images you want to download during the month. Prices range from $ 40 for a monthly subscription with 10 images to $ 399 for an annual subscription with 750 images downloadable in the year.

Ci-dessus: Exemples de filigranes sur les images de iStockphoto et de Getty Images. Utilisées à titre d'exemple en FAIR USE.
Examples of watermarks on the images of iStockphoto and Getty Images. Used as an example under FAIR USE.

The limits of "the right to use"

Buying a right to use does not give you right for any usage. It is possible that your license does not allow to modify the image. Or event, the image could not be used in a certain context.

For example: imagine a photo of a child in a sandbox. Your website is on Intellectual disabilities. The simple association of THIS child with the context of your website might harm this child in the future. Limitations like this might be included in the license you purchase.

Also, the right to use does not give you the right to resell it or print it on a sweater for resale. An extended license would give you the right, but it is more expensive to acquire.

The « Creative Commons » Licenses

There are licenses, known as license « Creative Commons » giving you a more extensive right to use without necessarily having to pay fees. Banks full of images are available with such licenses. But again, there are many levels of Creative Commons licenses. Explore them here: « Creative Commons ».

Tips for distributing video on the internet

1. Create your own content and images!

  • A good camera, good lighting, good subject. 
  • You create your own your content and become much more unique.

2. Search the banks for royalty free content.

  • Find Creative Commons image banks.
  • If you use Google Images search tool, Go in advanced search and filter results based on licenses. But even then, don't rely on Google for this, make your own research from there.
  • ALWAYS keep you communication logs related to acquiring a license..

3. Ok... so you really need THAT image on the website...

  • Contact the owner and climb up to the author.
  • Once the rights owner found, negotiate the purchase of a license.
  • ALWAYS keep you communication logs related to acquiring a license.

* Note: The GettyImages and iStockPhoto images used in this article are copyrighted respectively by these two instances. We use these images for representation under the "fair dealing" allowing the use of protected image as part of an article describing it or critical of it. For more information on fair dealing.

If you have questions regarding the use of images on the Internet, please contact us.

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