After hours of searching, you finally found the perfect image for your website. We’ve all been there and asked ourselves “am I really going to get in trouble for using this image without a license?”.
The answer is… using unlicensed images from Google is never worth the risk.
Sure, you may not expect your website traffic to blow up anytime soon, but somewhere down the line you could be facing thousands of dollars or more in settlement fees (per image!). It happens much more often than you would think, since stock photography companies routinely surf the web looking for copyright infringement.
The best way is to invest $2-$50 per image and use a professional stock photo database. These images are legal and usually much higher quality than any image you can find on Google.
Here are the top three that we use:
Make sure your web design firm isn’t using unlicensed images
Generally, you won’t get in trouble for using unlicensed images until a few years down the line. Fortunately (for your web developer), you will stuck paying for damages when those innocent social media thumbnails come back to haunt you. Always ask that your web developer uses legal, unlicensed images for any work that is done to your website. Get it in writing if possible- a simple email record of the conversation should be sufficient.
So, is it ever legal to use an image on your website that you’ve found online?
The best way to find out is to ask the owner directly. Many times they will happily give you permission to use the image any way you would like.