We’ve all been there. Found a beautiful image that inspires us, and with the internet it is even easier to find just the right image for our business…
But when is it okay to use such an image?
Sometimes it easy to tell as the owner clearly watermarks the image with a copyright warning or sets out clear conditions of use. However, even if there is no such warning, there may be a number of risks in using someone else’s image.
Copyright will automatically exist in any original artistic work. The word “original” means that the artistic work in question is the result of the person’s own independent labour, skill and judgement - any parts of the work that are copied from somewhere else will not be protected by copyright. The term “artistic work” includes sketches, photographs and drawings. Although it is always wise for the owner of a copyright work to include a copyright warning (for example “© Rachel Triplow 2017”), copyright will exist even without such a warning. In light of the Berne Convention, the owner of copyright will have rights in most countries. For example, an Australian can claim rights under the New Zealand Copyright Act if their copyright work is infringed here.
It is also important to note that changing something by x% will not avoid copyright infringement - it’s not how much you change, it’s whether you have copied a substantial part of the core of someone else’s work. Size definitely doesn't matter with copyright.
2. Trade Marks
Another possibility is that the owner of the image has trade mark rights. Even if a work is not “original” and therefore is not protected by copyright, it may be possible for the owner to claim that the image has become distinctive of their goods or services, or that they simply have a trade mark registration. As with copyright, it is wise for the owner of a trade mark to include a warning (for example the ® symbol if the mark is registered and/or the ™ symbol which can be used at any time), but trade mark rights may exist even without such a warning.
Unlike copyright, trade mark rights are territorial and will depend on a trade mark registration in the relevant country and/or sufficient reputation that consumers would be confused if someone else started using the same or similar mark.
SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?
Check out the Creative Commons search engine at https://search.creativecommons.org/, which lists all the places where you can find images that are available to use commercially. Or if there is one image you really really want, approach the owner and ask for their consent before you start using it.
Definitely do NOT go to your graphic designer and ask them to tweak someone else’s image for you, as this they could not would not should not do….
Written by Rachel Triplow | www.arcip.co.nz
Would you hire a chef to lay your carpet? How about a plumber to install your oven? No, of course you wouldn’t, you’d hire the right professional to do the job for you. When it comes to your businesses graphic design work, the best person is a professional graphic designer, like me. That means, forget doing it yourself!
Problems with DIY Graphic Design
I will say that sometimes (and only sometimes) when a business owner does some DIY graphic design, they create a graphic which looks fine. The clear majority though, create a design which not only looks unprofessional, but can quickly send their customers running in the other direction. Why? Because graphic design represents your business visually. It is often the first thing people see when visiting your website or picking up your flyer. If it looks bad or the same as what everyone else is using, your clients will automatically assume your business is just as bad as your design work and that you don’t take pride in advertising your business.
5 Reasons Why You Must Hire a Graphic Designer
I love my vacuum cleaner. Silly thing to say, but it picks up the dog hair from my puppy Max so well and leaves my floors dust and pet hair free. I tried using my kettle one time, but it just wasn’t the same …. Okay, so that’s not true, but it is kind of the same thinking people have when using online design software. They have a great idea, but can’t get it to work properly. Unsure about the right fonts, colours and styles to use, they end up with a mashed-up collection of bad graphics. Or they can see how to do it but the end result is something that a lot of other people are using for their design work, meaning people scroll past because they have ‘seen it’ before.
There are plenty of benefits to hiring a professional graphic designer. You not only get access to their design tools, but also to their experience, training, knowledge and understanding about creating graphics which give the right impression and are true to you and your business. Still need convincing? Here are five reasons why graphic designers do it better:
Being a business owner, things that take you away from your core business of selling your products or services, cost you both time and money. A graphic designer can create you a masterpiece in a fraction of the time, saving you a lot of cash and hassle. Finally, we know what looks great and what doesn’t. Our work gets you noticed and remembered by your target market and that is fabulous ongoing advertising.
If you’d like to know more about how I can help you with your graphic design needs, check out my portfolio. Or if you are ready to book your spot, send me a message today!
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