Recently I came a cropper – I got sued! Yes, for copyright infringement. I didn’t know I had done it and neither did the person who shared an image with me to use on my website.
So how did this happen to a law-abiding citizen such as myself and how can you avoid it happening to you?
All images belong to someone, and that is NOT Google.
Just because they are on Google does not mean they are free to use. Someone will have taken that photo, or designed that image, and inevitably it will end up on the internet somehow.
Now usually, when I want a photo, I go to a site such as Pixabay, or Unsplash, where they have a range of images that are genuinely free to use. And it clearly states this on the images. Or I will use an image that I have had taken myself, or I will use something like Canva to create a graphic to use.
In this case though, the image was provided to me to accompany a blog post. I (wrongly) assumed that they had permission to use it, or it was a free image, and I posted the blog without a second thought.
Months later I received an email stating I had broken copyright and was being sued as such. After taking legal advice, it was genuine, and I was in the wrong.
So, the image has been taken off my site, and I have paid the relevant fee to the company.
I felt awful. I was technically a thief, without even realising it. And it has taught me a huge lesson – never assume.
Will I still have guest blogs on my site? Yes. Will I still use images? Of course. Will I be even more diligent going forward about the permissions to use those images? You bet I will!
So, my final note to you all is, do you have permission to use that image? If not – please check!