Protecting Yourself by Doing Image Research

In the early days of the internet, so much of the experience was new that legislation had not quite caught up with it, presenting all sorts of grey areas for online web designers. Nowadays, there are plenty of laws dictating what can and can’t be used online, including the usage of images on a site. To maintain your site’s professional reputation and avoid becoming embroiled in a legal case, it’s critical to avoid copyright infringement when uploading images to your company’s website. Unfortunately, the intricacies of copyright law can be difficult to navigate, and the exact permissions of a specific image aren’t always readily available.

Why Not Simply Avoid Adding Images Altogether?

To avoid the debacle altogether, you might be wondering whether it might be simpler to remove all images from your business’ blog. While this would certainly protect you from copyright infringement, such a move would be detrimental to your business. Multiple studies have shown that content with images present is far more effective than without. On social media, posts are shared and interacted with far more often when they are accompanied by a visual. Additionally, images allow people to retain information for longer periods of time.

The solution isn’t to remove the images but rather to ensure that the images you’re using are not protected by strict copyright.

Original Content Is Safest

The best way to avoid any copyright issues is by only using photographs taken by your business and graphics created by your business. Unfortunately, this is often not a viable option. Businesses don’t always have the resources to produce the amount and variation of images necessary to continue providing the site with fresh, relevant content. The difficulty of such an endeavor also depends on the sorts of images you require. Photos featuring notable icons, logos, or graphics could be flagged under trademark law. If you feature people in your photos, you’ll need to worry about privacy laws and releases as well.

Royalty Free Images Are a Great Resource

If generating original images is not really viable for your business, consider searching out collections of royalty free pictures. Several websites offer royalty-free stock photos. These are taken specifically to be used on professional websites and blogs and often contain poses and props that are most relevant to your business. However, these come at a price, and you’ll have to determine whether or not your budget will allow for the expense.

Use Google’s Image Search

If you don’t have the ability to create your own images and can’t afford to pay for them either, you may feel like you are at a loss. However, there are options. Google recognizes the need for royalty free imagery and has built-in features to their Image Search specifically for this purpose. Google allows users to indicate if they need pictures labeled for reuse, reuse with modification, non-commercial reuse, and non-commercial reuse with modification when searching for images. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Search for the image. Google will give you all the results, but there are tabs to check after. Click the one that reads “Image.” It’s after the one that you begin with, “All.”
  • From there, click on the last tab that reads, “Tools.” Then, look at your options beneath the results. The last one will be “Usage Rights.”
  • Click on “Usage Rights” and choose “Labeled for Reuse.” The other options are better for non-business use, so to stay on the right side of the law, it’s best to use this option. 

In some cases, people re-upload copyrighted images and label them for reuse, which could put you in a difficult situation. Fortunately, Google has provided for this scenario, as well. Google’s image search can also be utilized to do a “reverse search” on an image. This works by feeding the search engine the image in question. Google then scours the Internet for anything that matches the image. This technique can help you determine the true origin of the picture, preventing any accidental copyright infringement in the process.

Find Images for Your Content with Help from Vizion

For those struggling to ensure that all images sourced are royalty free and safe to use, there are professional services upon which you can rely. Vision Interactive has years of experience optimizing business websites to increase conversion rates and overall success. Contact our team for more information by dialing (888) 484-9466, ext 60, or by filling out our online form today.

At Vizion Interactive, we have the expertise, experience, and enthusiasm to get results and keep clients happy! Learn more about how our SEO Audits, Local Listing Management, and Website Redesign Consulting services can increase sales and boost your ROI. But don’t just take our word for it, check out what our clients have to say, along with our case studies.