Okay, so you just downloaded and installed a really neat looking, free WordPress template to your website. Wow, and the image used in the header is soooo awesome, you figure, “why not keep it.”
Let me tell you from experience… free isn’t free at all. And, using template images (and/or Google searched images) COULD cost you severely!
If you use the image(s) supplied in free templates (which many templates no longer include the images for this very reason), you’re opening yourself up to a potential law suit. If you don’t believe me, ask a copyright lawyer.
The average Joe may think that if you violate someone’s copyright issues… especially when you don’t even know you did… that you would simply be issued a “cease and desist” type of legal document.
Heck, I have American friends who thought the very same too… so I KNOW it’s not just a Canadian failed-way of thinking!
So, if YOU’RE thinking you’d only receive a simple “cease and desist” type of legal notice… I ask you, “Can you AFFORD to be wrong?”
Go ahead… Google “images copyright issues” and read up on it for yourself.
Over the past few years, several website owners (and, even some who PAID to have their website created!) have discovered a very nasty, legal letter in their regular mailboxes, informing them of their copyright violation(s)… along with a notice of the extremely high price for the violation(s).
As you’re reading this, you may be saying to yourself, “No, no… NO way is this sort of thing going on. Not in North America?!”
Well then, all I can say is… think again.
It has happened to MANY… causing several websites to be even be shut down… and is STILL happening, right NOW!
Legalized extortion though it may be, American firms have more money than those of us being sued. So, if you get one of those letters …and you don’t pay up… they’ll simply destroy you, financially speaking.
My advice to anyone even contemplating using the FREE WordPress, Photoshop, HTML …or ANY template image is… DON’T! So, who owns free template images? Not the users, that’s for sure!
If you don’t own an image, and you have NO license clearly stating your right to use an image… than DO NOT use the image.
If you hire a graphic created, make SURE you receive full disclosure as to WHERE the image came from, along with a license to use it… in writing.
If the image has been created (which it should be IF you’ve hired a graphic artist) for you, make sure you get a letter from the artist stating this fact, and KEEP that letter on file, where it can be easily retrieved, should you ever need to prove your right to use the image.
I highly recommend you read this article: How to Stop Using Stock Photos & Boycott the Stock Photo Industry.
Personally, I will always make sure WHO owns a stock photo website before ever considering to purchase images.
NEVER will I purchase from a site where the name “Getty Images” appears ANYWHERE on the site.
This way, I feel more confident of not receiving one of those nasty letters. Matthew Chan’s website also lists other image owners that you may wish to avoid like the plague.
So far, I will ONLY TRUST Dreamstime.com whose mission is to serve customers by providing “small print” that is clearly stated. Thanks Dreamstime.com!
How to Not Get Sued for Misusing Images
Though I’m not talking about dropshipping in this post, Wholesale Ted (her handle) provided some very interesting, very important facts in her short video below regarding using other’s images. You will gain much information listening to her advice.
Canadian and American website owners are NOT as fortunate as New Zealander site owners are, so BE AWARE!
Other’s related posts
Legal Lesson Learned: Copywriter Pays $4,000 for $10 Photo
Pixabay images may NOT be “free” after all – https://pixabay.com/forum/questions-about-pixabay-11/got-a-copyright-fine-for-using-pixabay-image-how-1368/
and again … https://pixabay.com/forum/help-me-please-11/what-if-an-illegal-image-gets-uploaded-and-i-use-i-87/
Why can’t we use Google images on our website?
Blogger’s Guide to Copyright and DMCA
The $8,000 Mistake That All Bloggers Should Beware