Image Copyright & Legal Use of Images on Your Website
Copyright law exists to protect the rights (both financially and legally) of the creator of a piece of written work, audio and visual work such as music and film and artwork such as paintings, graphics, blueprints and photography. It is of paramount importance that whenever any these types of works, as just listed, are put out into the public domain - be it just for fun or financial gain - the party initiating this action MUST either be the copyright holder for such works, or MUST have been granted permission (preferably in writing) from the copyright holder for use of said works. Failure to acknowledge and comply with copryright law can and usually does result in legal proceedings.
At The Quality Website Design Company, we take infringement of copyright law very seriously with regard to use of photograhy, graphics, logos and sound on your website. The risk and consequences are greatest where photography is concerned. All images and photography displayed on your website MUST either be your own (ie. photographed by yourself or by a photograher whom you have paid) or bought from a stock photography company such as iStock, Shutterstock, an so on. If you wish to use images on your website, but you do not own a camera and are not familiar with how to purchase images from a stock photography company, please consult with us and we can purchase the images you need on your behalf from a stock photography company.
We would stress at all costs DO NOT take images from other websites and especialy DO NOT take images from Google Images. Every picture you see displayed in Google Images is subject to copyright law. Google actually state this at the bottom of each image (although it is done in a rather subtle way). Many images contained within Google Images actually belong to stock photography companies. Where there is no obtrusive watermark, the temptation is to right click your mouse over the image and save it for use on your own website. What many people do not realise and can't see is a tracking code which is embedded into the image. Many of the larger stock photography companies have use of sophisticated software which can pick up on this code and detect use of the image. No matter how much the image is manipulated, cropped, faded, resized etc, the tracking code does not go away and ultimately the image will be detected on your website. It might take only a month, it might take 5 years, but if you are using an image on your website for which you have not paid, it will be detected.
With regards to consequences of using an image without permission, the copyright right holder is perfectly entitled to sue, and you could be libel to pay hundreds of pounds. It is perfectly possible you could take just 2 or 3 pictures from Google Images, put them on your website and end up having to pay out as much as £5000 in compensation to the copyright holder. This is no exageration. Any images we give to you to place on your website will have been purchased via the proper channels. Any images you give to us we will assume you have bought also, or are the copyright holder.
We take no responsibility for images you provide us with which might be in breach of copyright law. For any images you provide us with, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have permission to use them. If in doubt let us purchase images on your behalf from a stock photography agency. If you knowingly provide us with an image which you do not have permission to use we will not be liable for any legal consequences that might result.
Text Copyright & Legal Use of the Written Word on Your Website
Just as with images, copyright law also applies to any text which appears on your website. When providing us with the information to include on your website, the temptation and easy option can be to give us text which you have copied from another website. This form of copying or "plagiarism" as it is more commonly known, is no less serious a breach of law than copyright infringement for use of images on your website without permission.
It is impossible for us to know whether or not any text you send us for inclusion on your website has indeed been copied from elsewhere or is an original composition written by yourself. If you choose to supply us with copied text we will not be held responsible when legal proceedings are brought. As with the images situation, software exists which can easily detect use of copied text from other websites. If you copy text from another website and give it to us for inclusion on your website, you will be caught out eventually, so we ask you to make sure all text you provide us with is original and written by you.