Or have you ever been copied?
Have you seen your hard-earned fishing photos used to advertise other charter businesses?
I have. And it’s not a good feeling.
Many times I believe it is well intentioned, but wrong. After all social media makes it very easy to share images. You have to actually put extra effort into to stealing them.
Repeat after me, “Google search is not my free image library”!
In my opinion, one of the most misused tools on the internet. But what many do not realise, it that using images from Google search (or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc for that matter) for your own purpose without permission is stealing. No two ways about it.
As Google explain themselves (PS take a look at the bottom of the Google image search page for this statement):
“The images displayed in a Google Image Search may be protected by copyright, so we can’t grant you the right to use them for any purpose other than viewing them on the web. If you’d like to use images from our image search, we suggest contacting the site’s webmaster to obtain permission.”
The same applies to other social media channels. Just because a user has uploaded an image to the web, does not mean its fair game. In fact, the opposite is true. The default is always copyright.
In fact, in the absence of a copyright statement, we must assume therefore that the image is indeed subject to copyright.
What could happen if I get caught?
Well aside from it being darn-right embarrassing, the copyright owner of the image can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint against you, or send a DMCA notice to your hosting and they may remove the image from your site for you!
For repeated infringes, your account may be suspended entirely.