From: British Journal of Photography
The Forum of Private Business issued the warning after it noticed an increase “in calls to its member helpline on the issue in recent months, with several businesses receiving letters demanding payment for unwittingly using copyrighted pictures,” it says in a statement.
“Often, small businesses entrust web design companies to source and upload images to their websites, on the presumption that the design company will have secured permission to use them,” writes the Forum of Private Business. “However, all too often this is not the case and liability for any copyright infringement lies with the small business, rather than the design company which developed the website.”
The Forum of Private Business cites photo agency Getty Images as one company that actively pursues copyright infringement involving its images. “We’ve received a number of calls recently from members who have been notified by Getty that they owe money because they are, however unwittingly, using unlicensed images on their websites,” says Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business.
As a result, the Forum of Private Business has been forced to issue a series of recommendations to small business owners:
Orford adds: “I think the digital age has blurred the boundaries of image copyright in many people’s minds and some business owners mistakenly think that because an image is freely available on the internet, it can be reused without permission.” The Forum of Private Business also blames the increase of infrigement cases on web design companies, which, in some cases, use images found online without permission.
The Forum of Private Business also advises small business owners to buy images from “reputable stock photography websites.”
By Angus Findlay
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