Why You Need Images and How to Keep Them Legal

31.12.23 03:00 PM Comment(s)

In your social media and on your promotional products

A number of years ago I responded to a panicked inquiry from an acquaintance.  It had come to their attention that a number of the images that they had been using with their blog posts were actually other people’s copyrighted images that were being used without permission.

Back in 2015 there was a piece on Fox Business from John Stossel where he talked about not being able to sing Happy Birthday on air and that added to the panic that set it for this person.  Hence the inquiry – How do I take that image down from every place and any place on the web where it might appear or be living forever?

Today, more so than in 2017, when I was first aproached with that question, social media is all about the visual.  The need for full color images is greater to catch someones eye in the busy social media landscape.  With the increase in need has also come an increase in people protecting their intellectual property.

In order to grab people’s attention and have them pay attention to your content you need to have a big visible image that gets noticed.  This creates a difficulty for many small businesses and professional services firms.  As a small company you might not have the resources, certainly in-house, to be creating a constant stream of images. Even all of these years later, unfortunately, many have taken to the internet and a Google Images search.  While this might show you a plethora of ideas and even spark your creativity, many if not most of those images are owned by others and commercial use, is certainly not allowed, especially without attribution.

Back in 2012, when things were still a bit less visual, Jeff Bullas wrote a piece in where he stated that Articles with images get 94% more total views” (you can read the whole article here).  Today how much more true that must be.  

So that brings us back to the dilemma of what do we do to have a steady stream of images.  From both a marketing point of view, as well as a legal ease view, best is to take your own photos or pay to have images created especially for you.  Next would be to locate images that are in the Public Domain and use those.  

Today there are many additional resources such as free plans from Canva where you have access to limited images with no fee.  Better is to buy the annual plan and have a larger selection of images.  You can use these images for your social media, fliers, brochures and more.  Even more importantly you can use those images legally when you want a full color photo to print on your promotional product.

If you want to save yourself the hassle of searching for images, we have a whole department dedicated to helping you create the perfect image to print.  We can create custom calendars, full color images for things like luggage tags and tote bags and much more.  All of the images that we use are meant for commercial use so you will never be violating anyone else's copyright.

This is also why we will not take a project where a sports team logo is involved unless you have written permission for use.