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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 22386
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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I produce a lot of content which i then publish online. This

Customer Question

I produce a lot of content which i then publish online.
This includes but not limited to:
1. blog posts (on my website and clients websites)
2. Twitts
3. Facebook
4. Other Social Media channels
My question:
Which images am i allowed by law to use and how?
a few examples:
1. Shutterstock account which i have, i have downloaded images (none editorials) and now wish to use them on my website, can i? do i need to attribute the source?
2. I download an image from Google images and then added a meme onto the image and then shared it on social media, is this allowed?
3. i have taken an image that was published on social media by someone else, can i re-use?
4. I went to Flkr or Google images (free for commercial use section) and took a picture from there to use for my client's blog, is that an issue?
Those were a few scenario we face each day,
Can you please crystallize this matter for me?
thank you.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 months ago.

I have used both Shutterstock and Istock images. How you are allowed to use them depends on which licence you have. Which licence you have depends on which fee you pay the fee is dependent on how you wish to use them and what resolution you have.

Generally, there is no need to attribute those purchased images either to the website or anyone else.

Just because there is an image on the Internet does not mean that it is public domain and it’s very dangerous to simply use images which you have got from the Internet, if you don’t have consent because these image libraries have a tracking pixel in their images and if you use it without consent, their Robot software will pick it up as it constantly trawls the Internet looking for unlicensed images and the next thing you will get is a bill from the image owners solicitor which you would then have to deal with.

Hence, to answer question 2, no, you can’t do that.

The same applies as to 3 although if the image is from an individual, the chances of litigation following is remote but still possible.

Re: question 4, that would normally be allowed but it depends on the terms of that particular section of the website.

There are exceptions to copyright when you can use it without consent but they are limited. Here is the government’s view

the only way to be guaranteed that you can use this imagery is to get consent or to buy the image.

Does that answer the question? Can I answer any specific points arising from this?

Please do not forget to use the rating service to rate my answer positive. If you don’t use the rating service, I don’t get paid.

You may get the impression that the thread closes after rating, but it does not, it remains open and we can still exchange emails if anything needs clarification.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi and thank you for the reply.
Just to pin point:
1. Shutterstock, my account is a "Multi-Share License", (we pay a lot of money each year and are allowed to download some 750 images - i think, per year) my understanding is that for my online usage any image i download (except editorial ones) can be used on website for any purpose (blog featured image, inside a post etc.) with the exception of selling this image i can pretty much use it for any of my content/marketing needs. Is this correct?2. About memes, are you actually saying that the million of memes being uploaded and shared on Facebook and other social media are most probably in breach of copyrights? hence, if i uploaded an image of my Cat and you downloaded it to your computer, added text to the image and then re-uploaded the images, you are basically in breach of my copyright?3. Do you differentiate between and image that is used to represent a place, location or a fact (this is a tube station, this is an apple) to an image that sell a product (buy this table, or hire my consultancy service) or a service when it comes to copyright?Thanks,
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 months ago.

I would need to study the terms and conditions in detail of the exact site and if you can cut and paste them, I can confirm but without doing that, that is my understanding.

It rained out, the definitive answer will of course come from the website themselves if you can manage to elicit a reply from them. You lose nothing by sending them half a dozen emails.

Yes, I think the majority of images on Facebook and social media are indeed breaches. However the majority of people couldn’t care less and it’s only the commercial organisations and for some reason, people who object to pictures of babies or children, whoever take issue with this.

It doesn’t matter what the image does that’s important, it is the ownership and copyright which is important. For example, it may be a photograph in the IKEA catalogue selling a table and they may or may not take exception to that. They may actually like the advertising! On the other hand, for some bizarre reason, some manufacturers and retailers take exception to their own images being used to sell their own!

Someone may have taken a picture of a tube station because they have a tube station fetish or suchlike. They may just like taking photographs of tube stations and even if they do it for their own purposes, they still have the intellectual property in that image.

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