We live in an ever-changing, visually appealing world where a copyright lawsuit is becoming a hot topic (in a bad way of course). BuzzFeed articles centered around moving pictures (aka GIFs) have quickly become a trusted news source. Video seems to have taken over our newsfeeds. Memes can tell a story in one simple sentence.
These days, we quite literally depend on a picture to tell us a thousand words rather than read them ourselves.
The text heavy days are coming to a close, and as companies move more toward visually appealing content, it is important that it is done in the right way. Ethically, it’s easy to step out of line, but legally, it can be even easier to end up with a copyright lawsuit in your hands.
At Modthink, we recently redid our website and wanted to add some retro photos. We quickly realized subscriptions to stock photography websites were expensive, and probably not worth it. But legally, we were getting warmer.
If you want to use a picture you found on the Internet, you must have either:
- Purchased the rights to the picture or
- the owner of the picture has to have made their work free for the public to use
If the photo you are using on your website does not fall into one of those two categories, you’ve taken somebody else’s property and can be subject to the consequences associated with breaking copyright law.
As tempting as it sounded, the Modthink team knew that just snagging photos off of Google Images and placing them on our homepage was far from a best practice for a digital marketing company to follow. We now use Google’s Labeled For Reuse filter for literally everything. Blogs, Instagrams, Facebooks posts, it’s all fair game (and LEGAL!)
Want to learn how to use the Labeled for Reuse filter on Google? Watch our short video below. It explains it all!