Photo Licensing Infringement Nightmares

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Photo Licensing Infringement Nightmares

When posting images to your social media channels, website, and any other platforms where you market your business, there is one crucial rule: do not post an image that does not belong to you. As one of the Golden Rules of Marketing, photo licensing is one of the most important to follow because it can cost your business. Social Spice Media discusses the photo licensing infringement nightmares businesses can run into when they do not abide by photo use rules. 

Receiving an Infringement Notice 

Believe it or not, you cannot download random images from Google or other platforms and post them for commercial use. Photographers work hard at perfecting their craft and using their art without crediting them is a violation of their rights. It may sound serious to the non-artist, but the costs associated with infringements can be costly to protect photographers.  

Typically, a business will receive an email or phone call being notified that they did not properly credit a photographer. We recommend the following when you are notified of the issue:  

  •  Make sure the company that is contacting you is legitimate. Too often, scam artists rob innocent people and businesses of their time and money. 
  • Take the photo in question down immediately but take a screenshot for your records. If the photo is posted even longer, it may affect the price you pay.  
  • Be nice to the person who contacts you. A little bit of kindness can go a long way.  
  • Negotiate the price by offering valid reasons for why it should be lowered. 
  • Be honest. If you are a small company who genuinely was unaware of how to credit a photographer, then explain that to them. 


Paying the Steep Costs 

When dealing with a photo licensing issue, costs can range from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand depending on several factors. For instance, the photographer’s experience level could be the difference between a nominal cost and an overwhelming one. Ask yourself if these costs are truly worth it for your business. 

Avoidable Additional Expenses 

There is no doubt that additional expenses can cost your business money. Dealing with lawyers who fight for the rights of photographers and artists alike can take valuable time away from your business. You not only spend a great deal of time trying to negotiate the cost down, but you also lose precious time that could be better spent increasing sales. These costs could easily be avoided by following the rules. 

Playing by the Rules 

The rules are simple; all you have to do is follow them. Common photo sharing communities, such as Flickr, are known to list the majority of their photos under a Creative Commons (CC) license with the exception of some rights reserved. Attribution is required for most, if not all, photos easily available for free download. This means you must give the photographer credit for the work you are posting. 

Any digital marketing agency knows which photos are free for use and which ones are not. Training in-house employees to know the detailed laws and licenses is time-consuming for your business. Digital marketing agencies know how to play by the rules because we stay on the pulse of emerging trends, news, and changes in the industry. Get in touch with Social Spice Media to create custom, licensed content that avoids these issues.