“You mean I can’t just take this picture I found on Google and put it on my website?”
“You mean I can’t just take this web copy I liked from that website and put it on ours?”
No. You can’t.
Let me give you an example that will help educate you and help me write a bit of a disclaimer page I can point toward in the future.
Isn’t this poster cool?
A friend of mine took one of my blog posts and hired an awesome graphic designer to turn it into a poster.
My friend got my permission to take my words and put them on a poster.
I got my friend’s permission and the graphic designer’s permission to share it in this blog.
Complicated? Yep. And understand I’m not a lawyer.
But here’s what I know for sure:
If YOU try and take these words or this poster WITHOUT my permission for your own commercial benefit, you will be hearing from one.
A good one. Educated at Oxford and everything. He wears cufflinks.
And my lawyer will tell you to not take other people’s things without permission.
If you plead ignorance, cool. Copyright’s a murky world, and I will probably go ahead and say “okay.”
But you need my permission. As soon as I hit publish, I own the copyright. I don’t need to put a little © thingie on it.
And you can’t just save the poster image to your computer and photoshop out my friend’s company logo and replace it with your own. The graphic designer owns that copyright.
And those images you take from Google? You don’t own those.
But here’s the great news!
There are a bazillion stock photo sites that allow you to buy rights to pictures. That’s something you can Google.
There are also all sorts of royalty-free (meaning you don’t have to pay every time you use it or for how long you use it) photos you can use with a bit of implied permission and licensing. Google “Flickr Creative Commons,” and pay special attention to the different requirements. Some are strictly for non-commercial use. Some may not be altered. Nearly all require attribution.
Do you have a blog? Try Photo Pin – a magnificent site that helps you format free photos to easily give credit where credit is due.]
Or maybe nope.
Did you really think you could take stuff that wasn’t yours without permission or credit?
What if you found somebody’s taken your stuff?
Great question. To give credit where credit is due, Michael Hyatt’s already answered that question better than I ever could.
Have a great day! Here’s my permissions policy if you’re interested.
photo credit: schaaflicht via photo pin cc
Jeremy Burt says
Never has there been a subject that seems so simple, yet requires such reiteration. I am always impressed by the surprise from clients who learn that I cannot use an image that they don’t own. What other industry has this issue? I really cannot think of another industry in which it comes off as “normal” to completely use tools or content that clearly belong to someone else.
Tony Richards says
My favorite one is from old ole radio days…”Can you just take that song and use it in my commercial?”