It happens with alarming regularity: bloggers, writers, and businesses are being sued for the images they use on their websites and in their print marketing. The most notorious company to go after even the smallest blogger who doesn’t even have an income from their blog is Getty. Getty can be a nightmare to deal with. Women in Business offers a guideline for handling a Settlement Demand Letter from Getty.

Image Licensing and Copyright

Using someone else’s image for your commercial work (even if it’s not making money) is considered theft. It is really no different than someone copying pages out of your book or off your website and selling them as their own work. The best way to prevent being sued for the images you use is to make sure you have the proper licensing for them. Better yet, choose the following types of images:

  • Public domain images. These images have been used on a government website or have been released by the artist to be used for any reason without credit. You can easily find public domain images (or easily attributable images) at Wikimedia Commons.
  • Free images. There are a number of sources for images that have come about almost as a response to the stranglehold Getty is attempting to have over stock images. One of our favorites is the work of Ryan McGuire at Gratisography (the creator of the image used on this blog). Additional free image sources appear at the end of this article.
  • Your own images. Grab your phone and snap a photo! There’s nothing more satisfying than taking the precise picture you want to accompany your own words and deliver the message you want to deliver.

If you do have to use a licensed image, there are cost-effective stock images available from reliable companies who aren’t sue-happy.

Our Favorite Paid Image Sources:

Bigstock Photo

Our Favorite Free Image Sources:

Stock Snap
Je Shoots