I want to use your nice Photos and Content

First up, I won't claim to be a lawyer, not an expert on copyright laws in every country, but there is something everyone should be made aware of and it's the purpose of this article to help individuals create content. This is a big topic but I will try my best to streamline it to specifics on what kind of content to use and when to use it, whether it's text or image based.

Planning Your Website Content

Planning your website content is important because remember that the primary goal of any website is to provide the visitor with information. Looking pretty is one thing but as the old saying goes, "Content is King!" which is why we have websites.

There are two types of page content:

  • Text based content which is the actual information being presented to visitors to read
  • Image based content which is the part that helps to enhance your information by means of visual representation of what the subject matter is. Also, remember that pictures are worth a 1000 words!

Planning what you want to write about is the first part of any authors' objective, to relay information to the reader. What is also just as important is that it's written in your own words - a way to personalize it to your style. This helps give it a more human touch because people can relate better when it sounds like one wrote it.

However, there is one critical aspect about writing content for your own website, and that is the legality of "who wrote it"...in other words, copyright ownership. Granted, a person can use content that was written by others, but the important factor is the question: Do you have permission to use it? Copyright ownership is a very serious offense should you use something without permission and can often lead to fines that can go as high as millions! In most cases, if someone is caught, they will be presented with an email or letter requesting they immediately remove the copyrighted works of the original author (or artist) or further action will be pursued.

Image Ownership

As with written content, images and graphics also fall under the copyright laws and original works are considered to be owned by the one who first created the artwork. One of the biggest controversies on the net right now is how images are being provided through sources such as Google's Image Search feature. There have been many lawsuits regarding this practice and could create complications for anyone using images from Google's search.

This also applies to anyone downloading or hotlinking images and graphics that exist on another website. Many do this and it too creates problems for the original artists and website owners when people do this. Using images from another source without permission or the proper licensing is illegal and falls under copyright infringement.

Photographs and other Images

If you are creating content for your website and need images, I would recommend finding a good source of imagery like stock houses. For example, the images you see in the Gradient Pixels website are from a source called Veer (www.veer.com) which has great prices and flexible license options. I pay for each one I use and have Royalty rights to use the image for the purpose of this website. The images used are not owned by me or Gradient Pixels, but are owned by the artist who created them, which are then provided through the Veer.com website (or any other photographic source).

My Best Advice

Before using content from any source, make sure you have permission from the original author or artist to prevent any life changing headaches from fines...or worse! Never hotlink from another website for images or other works of art unless you have permission as well. Don't take chances like so many do, but play safe for yourself and/or business. If you are not sure about something, or need more information, I strongly recommend you talk to a lawyer in your jurisdiction (country, state, province, etc.) before you decide to use something; it also helps to ask a lawyer about your own works of art.


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