Staring at me last week was a letter from a large image provider with a settlement demand for $780.00, and an explanation that I was inappropriately using their image without their approval. Pictures of my blog and website were provided as a reference and proof that their image was used.
My heart jumped and I wondered how I obtained the image. I called the provider and spoke with someone in compliance. I explained that I purchase images that I use. She said that they had gone through my history, and determined that I did not have proper authorization.
Copyright infringement is a big deal and I am proof that there are big brands, scanning the Internet for improper use of their creative. Here are a few tips to protect yourself, your name, and reputation:
1) Never pull or use an image without the proper authorization. It maybe tempting, but don’t do it.
2) Keep accurate records of images that you purchase. Most reputable stock image providers will do this for you in your account detail.
3) Use the image as indicated and not for anything other than what is stated. Typically this restricts you from using it to sell or promote a product or service.
4) Some highly visible stock images request that you reference the image with a referral link. Make sure to comply.
5) If you have questions, contact the organization license compliance. Legalese can be intimidating, but don’t let it keep you from fully understanding your responsibility.
I’m happy to report that I purchased the image from another stock image provider, and when I provided the detail to the ‘big brand’, they immediately dropped the demand. I think I’ll go buy a pair of shoes!