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Website Images and Copyright Laws

The issue about images and copyrights have come up a few times this past month, so I thought this would be a good time clarify some confusion on the do and don'ts. When I design a website for someone, it's agreed, the client is responsible to provide the content for their site. In most cases, I will provide some images and graphics that will help bring the webpage to life. Sometimes the client has specific ideas of what he wants to see on the webpage and will send a folder of images along with their text content.

Recently I worked on a website design project in Clearwater and my client, let's call him Mr. X, wanted to provide his own images. Along with the word docs that contained the written content for his web pages, Mr. X also emailed me a zip folder with all the images he wanted to use on the website. When I review the images, I knew right away that the images were not from a stock photo source or images the client photographed himself.

A quick Google image search validated my suspicion and right away I could see the images that Mr. X provided were all images he downloaded from the internet.

Just because images are floating around the internet doesn't mean they are available for everyone to use. Images that are free to use are called public domain.

Public Domain
Images that no longer have copyright restrictions either because the creator willingly relinquished the copyright or because the creator is dead and no one owns the copyright.

If you don't have the time to research each image you want to use, and you want to be on the safe side, it will probably be good practice to assume that all images have copyright restrictions. Another means of evaluating if you can use an image or not is to use this great chart I found that will give you a yes or no answer to your question, "can I use that picture?"
Follow This Chart to Know If You Can Use an Image from the Internet

Click on the chart to enlarge, it's an image file, and download it if you want to your hard drive for reference. You can download because it's for personal use. To better understand how that works, here are two links that cover copyright laws.
The Best Ways to Be Sure You're Legally Using Online Photos
Copyright & Fair Use (Stanford University Libraries)

Here is another link to inform you of what could happen when you ignore copyright laws.
Why can't we use Google images on our website?

Nobile Website Solutions offers services in the following Towns and Cities in Wake County:
Durham, Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell, Zebulon