Category Archives: Image copyright

Image Copyright – Get It Right or Pay £1000’s I Ginger Photography


A Picture Paints A Thousand Words ……….

or Can Cost You £1000’s

Porsche CR

So, you think you can use any old picture?

Think again! The Internet is rife with images, and more and more people are realising the value of images in their content marketing, and consequently looking for images to use.

However, there are still many people that don’t know enough about image copyright and this could leave you vulnerable. It is very important to understand copyright, what images you cannot use and thus, how to stay on the right side of the law.

A picture paints a thousand words…… or can cost you £1000’s

Pictures are more compelling than words (hence why we all want to use them!) so the law on copyright of photos is strict. Copyright of images literally means that you have the right to stop someone else copying your work.

So, if you’ve taken an original image, created a design or drawn a picture, you own it. No one can copy it without your permission. This is an automatic right and copyright attaches as soon as the image is created. You don’t need a contract, a registration or legal advice to ‘copyright’ something. Generally, if you created it, you own the copyright.

There are 4 things you can do when you own an image:

1 Reproduce the copyrighted work

2 Publicly display the copyrighted work

3 Prepare copied work based on the original image

4 Sell, rent or lend the image

When can I use a photo?

There are 3 circumstances when you can use a picture:

      1 You own it:

You can use a picture if you own it. So, if you took the picture, created a design, drawn and image or if you bought the copyright (paid for the image).

     2 You have a Licence:

If someone has given you permission or a licence to use the picture, for example, if a Photographer has given you a licence to use their images. The licence terms depend entirely on the owner of the copyright, so check before you use it that the particular licence you have covers what you want it for.

     3 Fair dealing:

In copyright  ‘fair dealing’ is sometimes permitted for the purpose of reporting current events, but this is for any type of copyright other than photography.

So, if the image is for a company website or blog with paid advertising, ‘fair dealing’ won’t apply. In the UK there are two types of non-commercial use of photos that could be ‘fair dealing’; research and private study and criticism and review. Both require you to acknowledge the owner of the Copyright.

Consider your content

However, you must always consider the content of the image, not just the copyright, as you still may not be able to use the photograph. For instance you are no allowed to use pictures of celebrities, a brand or pictures of copyright work, such as paintings.

If you do use copyright images in any Marketing material it can be very costly to you and your business. Due to advancements in technology, it is becoming very easy to find who’s copying pictures online.

Manipulation or adaptation of the data will also constitute an infringement, as there is protection under legislation against alteration of images.   This is also particularly risky if republication is involved.

Stock Images

There are many stock photography websites that provide affordable options for images. Most add new photographs daily, cost as little as £1 per image, and are easy to use. There are usually a reasonable selection of free images too. These can also usually be edited and distributed without the need for attribution.

Another example of such a site is I’d Pin That. “The images on I’d Pin That are provided by Pixabay and Flickr. These images are Public Domain and free of any copyright. This information should help you stay on the right side of the law and save you from making a costly mistake.
Have you had any experience of image copyright issues? We’d be interested to know where you get your images from and if you have come across any problems.

I hope you found this post useful and if you would like to know any more information, please feel free to contact us.

This information should help you stay on the right side of the law and save you from making a costly mistake.

If you’d like to talk about any aspect of Photography or Video Production please just contact one of the team.  We’re more than happy to discuss any potential production, no obligation, no hard sell, no hassle!   Just call us on 01488 71314 or email 

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