We all know that social media posts perform better with images than without. Unfortunately, many businesses do not abide by copyright laws, especially when it comes to social media and sharing creatives. Every year, countless companies ranging from small businesses to major brands are penalised for using images without permission.
If you as marketer, digital manager and business owner don’t pay close attention to your image copyrights and usage rights, you run a real risk of lawsuits and PR damage to your business and brand.
So, let’s briefly look at what is copyright law and other terms that you might come across.
What is a copyright?
It’s an exclusive right granted by law for a limited period to an author, designer, etc. for his/her original work. In South African law it generally lasts for 50 years or more depending on the type of work.
Under local and international Copyright Law all forms of original works of authorship, including photos, videos, graphics, illustrations, audio and more are protected. As a business owner you can get into a lot of trouble if you reproduce or distribute images and other forms of creatives. And by law the creator can take legal action against you and your business if you didn’t obtain the correct permission from the copyright owner.
In South Africa, the Copyright Act protects certain classes or categories of works.
- Literary works e.g. books and written composition novels.
- Musical works e.g. songs.
- Artistic works e.g. paintings, photos and drawings.
- Cinematograph films e.g. programme-carrying signal that has been transmitted by satellite.
- Sound recordings.
- Broadcasts e.g. broadcasting of films or music.
- Programme-carrying signals e.g. signals embodying a programme.
- Published editions e.g. first print by whatever process.
- Computer programs.
Here are also other definitions that you mighty also come across.
A license fee is the price charged by a licensor to a licensee in exchange for a grant of rights permitting the use of one
or more images.
Royalty Free, or RF, images refer to the right to use a copyrighted image without the need to pay a royalty or license
fee for each use, time period, or other usage terms (it’s a one-time licensing fee).
Rights Managed, or RM, images give the licensee the ability to use a specific image in a specific way for a specific period
Usage rights are the terms of the license that specify the type of media, size of reproduction, duration, and locations in which
the work can appear.
The good news for weary image seekers is that there’s a growing wealth of free stock photos out there. So, before you take out your mobile phone and take some out-of-focus images for your business, look at alternatives like stock photo platforms that provide royalty-free images for free.
Here are a list of my top 9 sites to find free stock images for your business, blog or social media pages.
5.Free Food Photos
On these sites you will find high quality and completely free stock images nicely tagged, searchable and easy to discover. Many are “Creative Commons Zero,” which means they are free to use for any purpose, including commercial, with no attribution required. Some sights offer CC2.0, which may be free to use commercially but require attribution. Just keep in mind, you’re always on the hook to be sure that the subject of the image (people, logos, private property, etc.) is clear of rights infringement.
So, just be sure to check the terms and conditions of each site, and give credit when required and enjoy sharing some stunning and free images!