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Small firms ‘must check web copyright’

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The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has urged small firms to check the copyright of images used on their websites following an increase in copyright infringement complaints.

The FPB has responded to a surge in claims regarding the use of prohibited images on company websites, where in many cases small businesses did not realise the images they were using were copyrighted.

IT companies, often used in outsourcing company web design, regularly source images without seeking permission for the usage, said the FPB. However in many the liability for copyright infringement falls on the small business who commissioned the work initially.

“We’ve received a number of calls recently from small firms who have been notified by Getty Images that they owe money because they are, however unwittingly, using unlicensed images on their websites,” said FPB Chief Executive, Phil Orford.
“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.”

In response, the FPB has issued the following advice to small firms in order to help avoid copyright infringement:

• Just because an image is on the internet does not mean it is free to use. The copyright will almost always belong to the person who created the image, regardless of whether it’s accompanied by a copyright symbol.

• Don’t think you won’t be caught out as modern software means it’s quick and easy for copyright-holders to track the use of an image.

• Speak to your design agency and ensure they have licensed all the images on your website. Ask to see proof of these rights or purchase them yourself.

• Understand the image rights and time period attached to the image.

• When you buy from a stock photography website, you are usually not buying the image but a right to use it in a certain way.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

June 22, 2011 at 8:48 am

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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