Pictures bring your content to life. People love images and image-based content is one of the most successful forms of content on social networks. A good image will immediately grab the attention on a facebook timeline whilst it’s equally as likely to gain more favourites and retweets on Twitter. That’s why it is crucial to use varied, high quality images on your blogs too which will inevitably get traffic via sharing on social.
The one major obstacle to achieving this is, contrary to popular belief, the majority of images found on the net aren’t free to use commercially.
Whilst some will feel tempted to use the first suitable image encountered via a Google image search this could soon land you in hot water and end up costing a lot more than if you had just bought an image via an official stock image site like BigStockPhotos.
Getty Images are the biggest stock photo agency around, with an archive of over 80 million still images and illustrations in addition to film footage. As a supplier to businesses and consumers you will find Getty licensed images on thousands of websites, including many high profile ones including the BBC and even newspapers websites such as The Daily Mail. Therefore you will also encounter their images in image search results. Sometimes it is made obvious, displaying the Getty Images watermark, but if this image has been cropped or manipulated you will have no way to telling whether it is a Getty image or not.
Paying the penalty
It has recently come to our attention that Getty aren’t particularly fond of people using their images without permission and can impose heavy fines on anyone caught using them. Just one single image can result in a 4-figure fine depending on how long the image was displayed on your website. Be aware that Getty are able to use sophisticated trawling software to uncover sites using their images too so don’t just assume you will never be caught.
In fact just a quick Google search will uncover hundreds of reports of individuals and companies fined in recent years, some of whom weren’t even aware Getty licensed images were on their website and/or that they were subject to these copywriting laws. Crucially too, it is the site owner who will foot the bill as they are the only ones liable for images added to the site so ensure you are always fully aware of what content is being added to your website.
This is just one example of why it is so important to use royalty-free images, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find good images for your blog.
Both Flickr and Google have means of searching for images available for commercial use, whilst there are many specific image sites now carrying free images for both personal and commercial.