Artwork makes your website look great. I do acupuncture. I also do art. I think of myself first as a writer and as a photographer or photo artist. I make money off the images I create. I have them online in order to sell them. If someone were to steal the images and use them on their website, I would lose money. However, many people think it’s okay to do so. They would never consider themselves thieves. They just don’t understand fair use and copyright.
In one online conversation, someone recommend that practitioners building a website just go to Flickr and download images for use. Many artists use Flickr to display their images and promote themselves. They have their images copyrighted. It is not okay to go to Flickr and download someone else’s images and use them on your website without permission. Love the image? Contact the artist. Some newer artists may allow you to use the image with just a link to their website or have their name in the corner and a website link back.
Artists can watermark their images with a copyright. The problem is that you can’t always see the details of the image when the watermark is there. For that reason many artists don’t want to do that. I use a service that I can have people automatically download after they have paid for an image. I can’t watermark that image or people wouldn’t be able to download it. This is true for a lot of artists.
Images are not that expensive to purchase. Fotolia.com, Istockphoto.com, Dreamstime.com are all places where royalty free images can be purchased for use on a website. Each image has a license attached. If it says you can use it for commercial use, you can buy that and use it on your website. If you won’t want other people using the same image, you can pay more for exclusive use. The downside of sites like these is that the artist gets very little. If you purchase a $10.00 item, the artist might get twenty cents. That means they have to sell a lot of photos to make a living. However, it is a legal use of the image and is better than searching online and stealing from someone else.
What can an artist do if they find you’ve stolen their art? Or will they find you’ve stolen their art? Many artists do image searches online to find if their image is being used elsewhere. If they find you have done that and do not have permission, first they will send you a letter. If that doesn’t work, they can contact your website host and complain. Many hosts will remove a site with copyright infringement. This is particularly true of sites that are business sites rather than small personal blogs. It is a time-consuming process to work out the details of what you need to remove in order to get your site back online. It’s better to not have this happen in the first place.
Non artists may think this is harsh and that artists shouldn’t be so territorial. However, images are an artist’s work. It is what they are paid to do. Often artists are barely making it. The artist can’t afford to look the other way when their work is stolen. Please use images fairly. Not sure? Check sites like this one for fair use.