The development of the internet has influenced a huge amount of our daily lives but the speed at which it has grown has brought with it a number of growing pains. Legislation that was written before the days of the internet is currently struggling to keep up with modern technology and all of a sudden laws that the average person had no reason to know of let alone understand have starting to effect us all.
Copyright infringement has been in the news quite a bit lately as the principles behind copyright ownership have been trying to withstand the incredible might of the World Wide Web. You may hear on the news about people copying music or films but these laws also apply to images.
The web is flooded with images of all shapes, sizes and subjects. As easy as it would be to find the exact image you want and just copy it from the web, to do so without permission could land you in hot water. As a website owner it is your responsibility to ensure you only use images you have the relevant permission to use.
The consequences for using copyrighted images on your website could potentially be dire. If you only deal with a small hobby website you may be tempted to think no one will notice but companies operating to protect image copyright have software that trawls the internet looking for images being used without licence. They can even tell when only part of an image is being used or the image has been manipulated.
So how do you go about finding images that you are allowed to use I hear you ask. Websites like iStockphoto and fotolia sell stock images with a licence for use on websites for as little as £1 - £2 each.
Depending on what you need images of you may find that you could hire a photographer. Hiring a professional photographer may cost more in the short term but you will be able to get the exact images you want, they will be far more unique and personal plus you can use the images for whatever else you need such as print advertising.