It sounds like such a good idea. Using either Bing, Yahoo or Google to search for a photo or illustration you need. Why should you worry, these images are free, right? Wrong! In this article you will find some alternatives, to avoid claims for copyright infringement.
It’s everyone’s nightmare, even when you did not take it in consideration: receiving an e-mail or even a letter with a bill attached, because you used an image that is copyright protected. It does happen, even when you’re just posting your work on social media.
Using the image search options that are offered by search engines seem like a good idea. It’s free, right? No one will notice, right? Well, not really.
Did you know there are companies who offer their services to third parties, to search for images and target their activities to individuals. They know that conpanies are more likely to get legal representation more easy. Individuals, people like you and me, will have to do a lot of efforts to get legal representation. This comes with a price tag. This is the reason that many individuals chose to pay, when they are charged with copyright infringment. In most cases, things are settled without intervention of judges.
Unethical, yes. Not fair, yes. Well, it depends on how you look at this. If the accusations are made by the person or company who made the work, it does seem fair to ask for a compensation. The creator has to watch while others use the work, in most cases without contributing the creator of the work. It’s a different story, ehen others send bills, just because they are searching day in, day out. These bills consist of very high compensation payments.
So, what can you do when you receive an invoice send by a third party? The first thing to do is to check with the creator of the work, if he or she supports the claim. In some cases, they aren’t aware if the fact. Then try to find out if it isn’t really clear that the creator has done all the efforts to protect the work. Find out if there is a statement on the website that tells visitor that the work is protected and the work cannot be shared. In most cases this statement is somewhere on the website, so you don’t hold a strong case when protesting.
Contact the third party and ask if thus can be settled outside of court. Some third parties will offer the chance to do this and the amount you have to pay is lower than the first invoice. If this invoice contains an amount so high, there might be a chance that a judge will over rule this. A chance, it’s not definately. If the third party does this a lot, some judges will also over rule the claim.
If you do decide to pay, always send a statement that you are doing this under protest. This will help you to start legal proceedings yourself. Remember, that is still tricky.
How can you avoid all of this? It’s very simple: don’t use search engines to get the photos you need. There are alternatives to get so-called stock photos and all for free. The only thing you have to do in return: register to download in most cases. There are many sources to chose from.
This website is a good starter. The images are offered in various categories and can be downloaded in full size after registerring. Unfortunately, some images aren’t that big.
Pixabay has everything! After registerring, you can download as many photos as you like. All these photos can be downloaded in high resolution. Based on your location, you can even use your native language to perform a search. As you can see from the screenshot, this website is shown in Dutch, because of the location we are using (The Netherlands). You can also decide to use English key- or search words.
Just like Pexels.com, you can use categories to chose from. The search results aren’t that accurate in some cases.
If you are in search of “old” illustrations, the ones you see in books, then Old Book Illustrations is your friend!
There is one website that sticks out. That is Pixabay. If you are using an other website, feel free to comment and show us why this website is also a goid idea to consider.