With the advent of social media came an influx of shared images. An image on one social networking site is downloaded to the local computer and republished on another social networking site. This practice creates a serious problem for the owner of the original image and the third or fourth generation “right clicker”.
I’m a photographer and book format designer by trade and often see images in the body of work that I recognize as the property of a photographer. When I ask about the license of the image, he often tells me: “I downloaded it from the Internet, can’t I use it?”
Many people know that it is easy to get a photo from the Internet by right-clicking and downloading it to your computer. The image that is saved is not one that can be used in a book or any resaleable product.
Without going to the source of the photograph and purchasing it, the image is illegal for commercial use. If the image is in Creative Commons or Public Domain, it is free to use in a published work.
Another problem with the practice of right clicking is quality. Most of the images on the internet are already low resolution and that results in a poor quality product.
You can be a blogger, a book writer, or a media creator for your new small business. He may want to enhance the materials he creates with photographs.
Before you right-click on an image you find on the Internet, I’d like to encourage you to check out the many photography sites that offer high-quality images that are licensed for commercial use.
Photographers create images. In the same way, your words are created by you and put on a page, photographers put light and color on digital media. Photographers and their agencies own the images and when you “borrow” them for your product, the photographer is not recognized, appreciated or compensated. This is a dangerous practice for you and could end up costing you more than buying a photograph.
Agencies that represent photographers and issue copyright licenses have litigated over payment for images used without proper licensing. Compensation for the owner or agency will often amount to a large sum of money. The agency has the right to ask for compensation as the owner of the image.
Photos have digital signatures called metadata and can be traced back to the owner and photographer.
Stock photography agencies, public domain stock microsites sell photography for photographers and the cost is very low. Buying an image from the agency does more than give the agency your money. It also supports the creativity of photographers. For every image purchased from an agency, a portion goes to the photographer who created it.
Sites I suggest to my clients for free and low-cost public domain images are Pixabay and Public Domain Pictures.
Sites I personally use for product photography images are Dreamstime, Adobe Stock, and Shutterstock.
As a photographer, I have a great interest in the practice of “right clicking”. My photography has been submitted to Pixabay, PublicDomainPictures, Dreamstime, Twenty20 and EyeEm. Some of my photos have been sold to clients for book covers and even clothing. I think it would sell more if people knew how easy and cheap it is to get licensed original photography.