Avoid Copyright Infringement for Images on eCommerce Website


Photo by Ron Lach

Images are a crucial aspect of every marketing campaign. The visual elements of images can draw people's attention, helping you get more clicks and potential sales than a text advertisement would do. Aside from sales, images also make your website more attractive, encouraging customers to engage more with your brand.

According to a study, information in the form of images and video stays longer than information in the form of text. To keep up with this, many online store owners knowingly and unknowingly use copyrighted images and, as a result, might face infringement.

Infringement can be bad for business and can get you in trouble. In this article, we will discuss practical tips to help you avoid image copyright infringement.

You should not be careless about the sources of photos for your e-commerce website. This may cause you to violate copyright laws and incur hefty lawsuits or fees. The following helpful tips will help you navigate image copyright while avoiding financial and legal repercussions.

1. Understand the Copyright Law

A good understanding of copyright law will help you explore the creativity of online images without issues. You need to know what copyright does not protect and what it does protect. You also need to know the penalties for using copyrighted images to know what to expect.

Copyright law protects sculptures, drawings, music and lyrics, photographs, paintings, films, choreography, and other forms of cognitive property. Trademark registration prevents using some marks, symbols, words, etc. However, expressing the real concept, idea, or fact in your own language won't be a problem.

Copyright laws, applications, and penalties often vary from country to country. Therefore, it is essential to learn the copyright laws in your country and apply them accordingly.

2. Don’t Take Images From the Internet

Try your best to avoid taking images directly from the Internet. If possible, you can set up a photography studio to snap the products you want to add to your website. The latest photography gear or your smartphone will come in handy. If you can't afford a photography studio, you can use another person's studio or hire a professional photographer. This way, you get to avoid copyright infringement.

Photo by Vojtech Okenka

3. Take Images Free From Public Domains

If the number of images you need is small, you can select from public domains that offer free images. They do not want any credit for their images, so you can even use them for commercial purposes. Some examples are Public Domain Vectors, Foodies Feed, and Old Book Illustration.

However, you have to be careful because some images need attribution. To be sure, click on the image and go through the data beside it.

If you use a third-party website builder, such as WordPress, Shoplazza, Wix, etc., you must confirm their image using agreements before putting the preset pictures online. Although they may collaborate with loyalty-free image sites for their free themes, it’s better to double-check every photo you want to use.

4. Be Creative

The best way to avoid copyright infringement with images is by being creative. Create your own image. You may use similar ideas and concepts from other people, but your creativity will make it stand out. The image will surely be free from copyright claims. Scan and screenshot images might not be free from copyright claims, so you have to produce images yourself.

5. Receive Permission

If you cannot create a unique image, you can ask for permission from the original author. It is essential to take notes while asking for permission about where to use it, how to use it, and how long it will be used. It might even be a license in the future, in case of any dispute. Sometimes, image owners may ask for credit in place of the license fee.

You may be wondering where to get the original author of the images. You can do this by going through the image link or following the trademark. Remember to keep the legal document safe for future reference.

6. Buy Images

Another safe way to avoid infringement is by buying images. You can do this on websites like Shutterstock, iStock, Stockphotos, etc., with several photos to choose from. These sites offer high-quality images at a reasonable price. They have a way of tracking copyright infringers, so it is important not to use images without their permission.

Final Thoughts

Images are an important part of marketing strategies, helping you get more clicks and potential sales. However, using copyrighted images can negatively affect your business and impose legal and financial consequences.

The tips discussed above will help you avoid copyright infringement on the images you use for your e-commerce website.

(Contributed by Ayotomiwa Omotosho & Hermes Fang)

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6 years experience in digital marketing. A gracious loser, not a lousy winner.


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