We all know how important photos, infographics, and other visual content can be to a website. They help catch our attention, make us interested in products, and encapsulate key facts in ways that words alone can’t. Learn how to use images wisely as part of your website design for your Calgary company to reduce risk and beautify the look of your business’s website.
All around the world, images are generally well-protected by copyright. The rules may vary from country to country, but the basic principles are essentially the same. Permission is almost always required to use or adapt someone else’s image. Copyright exists to protect the original work of writers, artists, musicians, photographers, etc. It begins as soon as the work is created. It is automatic. No papers need to be filed, nor is there a distinction for whether the work is published or unpublished. No watermark or symbol is required.
Use and Choose Images Wisely
Let’s start with one basic principle: unless you created the image yourself, assume it’s copyrighted and don’t use it without getting permission. To protect yourself from risk, stick to these rules:
- Sometimes all you need to do is ask. Many people welcome the exposure and gladly authorize the use of their work. But you must give them the opportunity to say no. Having good manners on the web means being fair about how you share the work of others. Unlike quoting or citing part of someone’s written work, a link or attribution for an image is not enough. Copyright gives the creator the right to determine where their works are published.
- Use a stock photo service. The typically small fee can give you peace of mind. Make sure you follow the usage guidelines. Costs for images may vary depending on how you intend to use the image. Stock photo dealers are allowed to specify how you can use the image as part of your website design Calgary for your Calgary business, such as on a contact card, t-shirt, or coffee mug, etc.
- Learn the meaning of “fair use”. It’s not the same as free. Sara Hawkins, writing for the Social Media Examiner explains fair use as a legal exception that allows others to use an image “as long as the use does not interfere with owners’ rights or impede their right to do with the work as they wish.”
- If you aren’t given permission for an image and your purpose does not meet fair use guidelines, remember that there are many resources available that offer free images, including public domain and creative commons. Lifehacker suggests many ways to be sure you’re legally using online photos. Public domain images are free to use and don’t usually require attribution. Creative Commons images have varying restrictions and require attribution. Be sure to follow the rules associated with the images you choose.
- Know the risks. Copyright law gives an artist the right to protect their work online. If you use an image without permission, you could be sued or have your site taken down.
Let the Experts Help!
Knowing how to use images properly can make all the difference. They don’t just make web pages prettier or easier to read. The right image can help SEO, too. Selecting your images carefully and managing them correctly can help you add a layer of optimization that makes a web page more attractive, more enjoyable for your customers, and improve your site’s rankings all at the same time.
A website design by the Calgary professionals at Emphasize Design can transform your website from a simple online presence into a tool that can inform potential customers, generate leads, and give you an edge over competitors. To learn more about how to get potential customers to discover your business and interest them in what you have to offer, check out our free ebook.