Images on Your Website
Images on your website: Just because you find it on the Web, doesn’t mean it is fair game for you to use
As easy as it is to Google the image you’re looking for on the web, right click and save it; it’s not the best solution to gathering imagery for your website.
Although there are several ways to check to ensure an image is safe to use on your website, the best rule of thumb is simply this: Did you take the photo or create the graphic? If so, you’re fine to use it on your website. Just remember this: You make it, you own it. If you didn’t, you’ll need to further investigate whether or not you can use the image and nine times out of ten, the answer is no. Another safe assumption to have is that every image you find online is copyrighted. Additionally, if you make “changes” to a copyrighted image, it also does not automatically relieve you from potential liability of copyright infringement.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s cover what can happen if you ignore the above information and use an image you found online. First of all, ignorance is no plea for your case. If you receive a "cease and desist" or a DMCA takedown for an image used in your website, it is too late. It is your website, your liability. You can be fined a large sum of money from the organization whom you “borrowed” the image from not to mention legal costs. It is your responsibility to be educated on copyright laws before you venture out online to locate images for your new website
If you’re not a great photographer, don’t have the resources or simply don’t have time to take/create your own images and graphics, don’t worry, there is help out there for you. There are several websites you can get great stock images from that are royalty-free (a licensing method under which image rights are sold at a flat rate for almost all purposes) so you won’t have to spend any time researching or worrying if a photo is safe to use. Some examples of websites that offer imagery are:
With all of this being said, protect and educate yourself on copyright laws and respect the rights of the artists who shot the photos or created the graphics.