Copyright laws

Copyright laws are a very hot topic these days. Long gone are the days when people could copy something from someone else, publish it as their own and get away with it. It’s always been illegal, it’s always been unethical but it was harder to police because there was not enough regulation in the “online world”. I remember more than 14 years ago writing an article on my personal blog, dedicated to a family member that was copied by someone who then posted it on his blog as his own. Amazingly enough, even the sentence I wrote in Polish. It was plagiarism and a gross violation of copyright laws, but at the time the provider told me they couldn’t help me as they were not responsible for the content. Something like that. I changed the provider anyway.

Today things are different, especially with the content you publish on your website, blogs, or social media. People need to post photos all the time, and sometimes they may not have a photo for a certain post, so they search for one online. There are free stock photos that you can use, but why shouldn’t you?

A bit more of the same…

How many times you saw the same photo used in a million websites and you think “they all copy each other”! For example, in our industry, we see the same photo of a laptop and a coffee cup countless times. They probably took it from a free stock website and they are not infringing copyright law, but they are breaching another basic business principle – always be original!

Your clients will see your page, and they see the same photos they’ve seen on some other page they visited before or even a very similar page, you won’t make that mark you want to, you will be just “another one”, “a bit more of the same”. You don’t want that do you? No one does!

Be original, stand out in the crowd

You should always pick your own photos or photos you got from someone you know, who allows you to use them and will not sell them or give them to anyone else. This will ensure, not only that you are not violating any copyright law but also that your website, article, or post is 100% original and will leave that great impression on your client.

Even though, the person may have allowed you to use the photos, if you use a photo from someone else, I would say it is ethical to credit that person for that. It may not be legally required, but I would say it is a courtesy for that person’s job and for their generosity in giving you the photo. I know I do it.

Don’t just Google and copy

It may be published, it may appear on a Google search, but it’s most certainly copyrighted and you cannot just copy and use it. If it’s found that you are using copyrighted material, you may be in trouble. In the same way, you would be offended if someone copied the photos from your website, articles, or posts to use them as their own, the same happens to other people if we copy their work. Plus, some professional photographers published their portfolios, so clients can see them and buy them, if you are copying it without permission, you are basically stealing it. When put this way, it takes a whole other level doesn’t it? But that’s actually what is, stealing someone’s work.

So, next time you think of publishing a photo, be aware of this and I’m sure you will make a difference in your field!

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