With the advent of social media, came an influx of image sharing. An image on a social media site is downloaded to the local computer and re-posted on another social media site. This practice creates a serious problem for the owner of the original image and the 3rd or 4th generation “right-clicker.”
I am a photographer and book format designer by trade and often I see images in the body of the work that I recognize as owned by a photographer. When I inquire about the license for the image, I often get, “I downloaded it from the Internet, can’t I use it?”
Many people know it is easy to grab a photograph from the Internet by right-clicking and downloading it to your computer. The image that is saved is not one that can be used in a book or any re-saleable product.
Without going to the source of the photograph and purchasing it, the image is illegal for commercial use. If the image is in the Creative Commons or Public Domain it is free to use in a published work.
Another problem with the practice of right-clicking is quality. Most images on the Internet and of low resolution and that results in a poor quality product.
You may be a blogger, and book writer, or a media creator for your new small business. You may find yourself wanting to enhance the materials you create with photographs.
Before you right-click on an image you find on the Internet, I would like to encourage you to check out the numerous photography sites that offer high quality images that are licensed for commercial use.
Photographers create images. In the same way, your words are created by you and put on a page, photographers put light and color on digital media. Photographers and their agencies own the images and when you “borrow” them for your product the photographer is not recognized, appreciated or given any compensation. This is a dangerous practice for you and could end up costing you more than the purchase of a photograph.
Agencies that represent the photographers and issue usage rights licenses have litigated for payment for images used without the proper license. The compensation to the owner, or agency will often amount to a large sum of money. The agency has the right to ask for compensation as the owner of the image.
Photographs have digital signatures called metadata and they can be traced to the owner and photographer.
Stock photo agencies, public domain micro stock sites sell photographs for photographers and the cost is so little. Purchasing an image from the agency does more than give the agency your money. It supports the creativity of the photographers as well. For each image purchased at an agency, a portion goes to the photographer who created it.
The sites I suggest to my clients for free and low-cost public domain images are Pixabay and Public Domain Pictures.
The sites I personally use for stock photography images for products are Dreamstime, Adobe Stock and Shutterstock.
As a photographer, I have a vested interest in the practice of “right-click.” My photography has been submitted to Pixabay, PublicDomainPictures, Dreamstime, Twenty20 and EyeEm. Some of my pictures have been sold to customers for book covers and even clothing products. I believe I would sell more if people knew how easy and inexpensive it is to get original, licensed photography.