12 ways to avoid image copyright


For personal and commercial purposes, we have to use images daily. Most of us take images from google and many times, knowingly or unknowingly, we download the copyright images and as a result, we often face warning from google, national or international organization, photographers, image sellers, and many others. We cannot, but take down our images fearing the penalties. Sometimes, we are hatred by socially and nationally, and even our business may face difficulties. Regarding this fact, we should know all about the copyright issues and the answer of what, why, and how. Besides, we should further know how to avoid copyright dispute and use images safely.

1. Understanding Copyright Law

If you want to use images without copyright dispute, you should have enough understanding about copyright law. You should know what copyright protects and what copyright does not protect. You should also know the penalties for the copyright infringement. Copyright law protects literary works, drawing, films, paintings, photographs, music and lyrics, sculptures, choreography, and many such types of intellectual properties. Trademark registration also forbids the use of certain words, symbols, marks, etc.  On the other way, if you express real fact, ideas or concepts in your own language found in other sources, it won’t be the violation of copyright law. The copy of any text file can be fall under plagiarism under state common law.

However, copyright policy may be differ in different states and countries. Its application methods and penalties also may be different. So, if you like to use images for your business, you have to know the copyright law of that state, region, or countries.

2. Don’t take any image from the internet

If possible, don’t take images from anywhere on the internet. If you can afford and you need many images, especially when you are a product marketer or owner, try to set up a product photography studio. Buy latest gears or use your smartphone to capture product photographs in your in-house photography production house. You can also employ photographer or use other’s studio for taking your product photographs. In this way, you can avoid copyright infringing.

3. Take images free from public domain

If you don’t need big amount of images, you can take the images from the public domain websites who provide images free. They don’t want any attribution in most their images, and even you can use the images for commercial purposes. But yet you have to be careful, because there are some images which you have to provide credit for, or you cannot use certain images commercially. To be ensured, click on the images and when it will be popped up, go through some exif data beside the images where you will find what to do or not to do. However, there are some links of public domain such as Pixabay, Wikimidea Commons, Unsplash, Old Book Illustration, Public Domain Vectors, SpaceX, and Foodies Feed.

4. Download from google changing ‘Usage Right’

For having safe images, one thing more you can do. You can search the certain images of your niche in google. When the images will appear, you should do the following actions-

  1. Search images in google
  2. Click on Images
  3. Click on Tools
  4. Go to Usage rights

See these actions in the attached image. After hitting on ‘Usage right’, a pop up will appear with further instruction.

How to avoid image copyright

🔹 Now, if you want to get images for using after small editing, click on ‘Labeled for reuse with modification’

🔹 If you like to use images directly without modification, click on ‘Labeled for reuse’. You can use these images directly, but it is forbidden to modify.

🔹 For using image in noncommercial purposes with modification, click on the ‘Label for noncommercial reuse with medication’. These images can be used for blog and other noncommercial activities.

🔹 You can also use images for noncommercial purposes without modification. Use these images directly in blogs. To have the images, click on ‘Label for noncommercial reuse’.

5. Be Creative

The greatest way of having copyright free images is to be creative and creating in-house materials. The topic, idea or concept may be same, but your creativity will change these images copyright and escape the copyright claim. If you use screenshot or scan images, they will not be copyright free. So, you must be creative and produce unique images for your products.

6. Don’t trust on ‘Fair Use’

‘Fair Use’ is a theory of the law of the USA that allows limited use of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner. It includes not only images, but also commentary, criticism, news report, search engines, study materials, parody, etc. But still, fair use is not fair enough because of some hidden clauses inside the copyright holders’ terms & condition. It may seem easy to understand, but actually it is very complex doctrine. So, if you don’t want to be a copyright infringer, avoid the use of Fair Use materials.

7. Receive permission

If it is not possible to create original content or don’t have enough time to produce images, try to seek permission of the content author. You should take always written document while taking permission about how to use copyright content, how long it will be used, and where to use, etc. Actually, it will act as a license in any dispute in the future. It is an easy and inexpensive way. Sometimes, the owner can simply ask credit instead of any license fee. You may think where you would get the original author in case of using images. To track down the content creator, follow the trade mark or go through the provided image link and take permission. However, keep all the legal documents preserved to stay out of future copyright trouble.

8. Give Credit

Instead of asking license fee, the original image author may want appreciation. It will be very simple, easy, and inexpensive. In this case, you can simply mention the name of the brand or author. Provide the link of the original image source when you are using the images. But still, you are not safe. You have to be careful and try to take written permission. Before using the images, without conversation don’t think only giving credit is enough. The process of giving credit for using images you can follow:

🔹 Image by John Doe via [source link] (copyright-free)

🔹 Image via [source link] (copyright-free)

🔹 Via [source link] (copyright-free)

🔹 Via John Doe (Creative Commons 4.0 License)

9. Talk to lawyer

Copyright law is very simple to hear, but it is not as easy as it is heard. If you fall in the trap of this law, you may face great difficulties and even, it may stop your startup business. You must be careful knowing the pros and cons about this law. If you cannot understand the law or you are unsure using any image, you should talk about the law with a lawyer.

10. Buy images

The safest way of not to be a copyright infringer is to purchase required images from the image selling websites such as stockphotos, shutterstock, istock, Bigstock, Dreamstime, Adobe Fotolia, and more. These sites are providing high quality images for every sector. Many authors may ask dollar instead of only appreciation. In such a case, buying images is better than hiring images. Remember, don’t try to use images on these websites anyhow, because they have some software to trace out the copyright infringers.

11. Vectorize Images

Raster to Vector

If you are too smart, you can a simple trick to use high cost images with copyright infringing. You can edit highly valuable images. To use these images, they can be transformed from raster to vector images. Great images cannot be used directly because copyright law, but if you recreate these images in Illustrator and make them vector, hopefully you can use. In this case, you have to be perfectionist while converting raster to vector so that the images can be flawless. But always look out for usage instructions before you do that.

12. Manipulate Images

Whatever you do instead of creating unique images or purchasing images from seller websites, you are not hundred percent safe. If you use images by downloading from Google, in a word, you are not risk free. So, try to purchase images according to requirement or if you like to create unique images as you need, it will be better.

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