You are looking for a nice photograph to take your website from “meh” to “yeah!” After tooling around, you find the perfect one on someone else’s website. It has everything you could hope for in a photo. It is pretty, professional, and just the right amount of kittens mixed with laser guns. Awesome. You right click, cut, and paste into your new page. Easy peasy, right? WRONG! You just infringed on someone’s copyright. Someone created that graphic, and you just took their hard work without any compensation. That’s not good; in fact, it is illegal. More than a few of you that cut and paste with abandon will get a cease and desist letter from either the artist or a distribution venue like Getty Images, Inc. Trust me, you will pay a lot more to fight or settle it than to do it right from the beginning.
So what do you do? Well, first, you can create your own photos or graphics. The photos on our website were mostly taken by Jeff Glazer. Second, you can buy the graphic. Getty Images and its subsidiaries (iStockPhoto, etc.), Shutterstock, and Adobe are just a few of the stock photo and graphics sites where you can buy rights to use a graphic.
Have a budget something closer to bologna sandwiches than veal parmegiana? Creative Commons is a license that artists can license their photos or graphics that allow others to use them free of charge. There are strings. Some are not allowed to be used commercially. Others require attribution to the artist (like the photo for today’s post). Be sure you understand the terms of the license to make sure you are using it correctly. There are websites like Pexels or Pixabay to help you find these free stock photos, and Google and Bing help make it easy by allowing you to apply filters to your image search results to find those that allow modifications or commercial use. There are also some fun sites like New Old Stock that use older photos that have outlived their copyright protection and now are in the public domain.
So yes, cut and paste seems cheap and easy until it isn’t. Start out right and get the correct permissions for the graphics you are using. Pay first or use the correct licenses and you will be able to keep that kitten hitting its target on your website.