So you’ve set up your business and the next step is to market it! A picture may be worth a 1,000 words . . . and it can also be worth a lot of money if it results in a copyright lawsuit! So, how do you engage your audience and get customers interested with captivating images without facing copyright issues?
Here are some top tips:
Create Your Own Images
One way to avoid copyright issues is to take your photographs or make your own images for your website and marketing materials. Cellphones today typically have excellent cameras, and it’s not uncommon for business to capture their own shots.
One popular website to use for creating everything from logos to infographics and Instagram posts is Canva.com, which offers a free version as well as a paid version with additional options.
On Canva, you can choose from a wide variety of templates (social media stories/posts, email headers, Pinterest pins, postcards, and more) and choose a template with the correct size dimensions. Then, you can customize it, adding text, pictures (their database or uploading your own), animation, and more. You can download and use your creation, which can be handy for website design and marketing. Canva is all about customizing what you create to fit your brand and needs.
Seek Copyright-Free Images
Another option is to find images that are copyright-free that you can download and use for your business needs. One website that offers free, downloadable, no-permission needed images is unsplash.com. The site provides a searchable database of photographs that you can easily use for any purpose (except that they cannot be sold without significant modification).
The site does say that attribution to the photographer is appreciation and gives you an opportunity to thank them when you download their image. Unsplash is a popular option because it is easy to search and find photos for specific needs. There are other websites, both free and paid, that provide copyright-free images.
Hire Website Help with Caution
Canva images, your own photographs, and Unsplash images can be used to add visual appeal and creative touches on your website. Many choose to design their own website, taking on full control of what images are on there.
Perhaps you don’t have the time and energy to create a website and would prefer hiring someone. As you speak to potential website companies, be sure to inquire about what images they use and how they avoid copyright issues.
Unfortunately, some people end up with websites featuring images stolen from other sites; with you as the host of the website, you could be liable for any copyright issues. And even though you may have hired a website designer and they were the ones who placed the unauthorized image on your website, you are probably still going to be on the hook.
So, when it comes to your new website, the safest option is to always take your own pictures or get pictures from websites that offer copyright-free photos. Take caution with every photo that you place on your website or in any marketing materials, and make sure that the website you are getting these copyright-free photos from is a legitimate site. If you are looking at your website and you see a photo that you have no idea where it came from, you might want to go ahead and remove it, just to be safe. One lone photo that was taken from a professional photographer who did not authorize the photo’s use could cost you thousands and thousands in damages, regardless of your intention.
Law 4 Small Business, P.C. (L4SB). A little law now can save a lot later. A Slingshot company.