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We’ve just read in the FSB Newsletter of yet another small company who were hit by a fine from Getty Images in the States for breach of copyright. It’s so sad because this particular company, like many others we’ve heard of, had no intention of ripping Getty office, nor anyone else, but sadly lack of knowledge or ignorance are not a valid excuse these days. Still doesn’t seem right, even though it’s the Law.

So for 2014, let’s all make a resolution to not assume because an image is on the internet that it’s free to use! Remember, even if the original person has a licence you don’t, and far more images are subject to royalties than aren’t. Image libraries make their money by selling licences for use of images and the software they use to track down unregistered images is very sophisticated, so it is only a matter of time before they find you!

The fines can be quite heavy and though the intent may have been totally innocent the fine is still payable, although you may be able with negotiation to achieve some damage limitation you’ll probably need legal help – which is where the FSB has come to the aid of small businesses lately.

With the increasing popularity of social media and general web usage it’s ever important to be sure you have copyright in any image, video or music you use else the owners may well be knocking on your door for compensation. The safest thing is to use a reputable provider who will clear copyright for you, or of course to produce your own images; if you ever need some good professional photographers we are happy to recommend people we know will do a good job for you, and keep you safe from nasty letters from image companies.




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