The legal myth that we are busting in your small business today is about free image websites. I’m sorry if you’ve heard me talk about this before, but this is still happening. People think that free image websites are safe to use, I can tell you that they aren’t. The owners of free image websites never guarantee the copyright ownership of the material placed on their websites.
So, for example I could take a photograph, you could then see my photograph and you could put my photograph on the free image website. There’s no control, I haven’t given you permission to put my photograph up on that website. Then somebody else, a third person, comes to that site in good faith, believing the message on the site, which says ‘Free Stock Images’, ‘Free to Use’, ‘Commercial Use’, and they think they can use it and they go ahead and they use it. Then I get angry because I never gave permission for it to be used, free image sites are not safe.
The only site that I use is called 99 Designs and if you go to my website ‘legallioness.com’ I’ve got an affiliated link to 99 Designs. The reason I like 99 Designs, is that they actually guarantee the copyright in the images on their site. What I mean by that is, in the very unlikely event that you get a letter demanding that you stop using one of the images, they will run the legal case for you and they will fund up to $10 000 to settle a case.
So they’re pretty confident that their images are safe to use, so please don’t use free image websites. Yes, the image can be downloaded for free, but if you go behind the scenes and you read the terms and conditions, you’re using it at your own risk. That means if anybody, who owns any of those images finds out you’ve used them, you could be sued for copyright infringement.
Now not every image on those free sites is problematic, but enough of them are problematic to make it of concern. Recently my clients have been getting letters of demand, between $1200 and $1500 per image. Why wouldn’t you spend $99 on 200 images on 99 Designs, or find another image source where they guarantee the copyright in their images. Free images in my experience are not free, they are very expensive, sometimes thousands of dollars.
It’s been great busting legal myths with you to protect your business so that you can have the lifestyle that you deserve. My name is Cathryn Warburton, I am the Legal Lioness, If you would like to hear more legal myths busted then please go to my website ‘legallioness.com’.