Don’t jeopardize your company’s legal future by stealing images off the internet! As one firm discovered, a $10 photo could cost you upwards of $30,000-$150,000 in restitutions!
This is not something to mess around with. Even if photos don’t explicitly say they’re copy written, assume they are unless there’s a specific Free Use statement on the website. Do not, I repeat, do not use Google’s image search and just grab the first image you see!
A lot of small businesses, and some large ones with careless employees, make this mistake. If you’re doing it, you’re dodging a bullet. How many do you think you can dodge before one hits you?
Don’t take that risk. Even non-profits aren’t immune to this! If you really need stock photos you can’t make yourself, try a cheap stock photo site like Deposit Photos (Large Photos $6), Big Stock Photo (Large Photos ~$9) or Dreamstime (Large Photos ~$18). If you’ve made your own photo library, you might be able to put up your own photos (not of people, you will need them to sign off for you to sell their likeness) and make a profit or at least pay for your own needed photos. Many of these stock image sites offer programs for you to upload and sell your own photos.
Finally, there are some free, legal sites. Dreamstime has a place where people donate Royalty Free Limited License provided you don’t make more than 10,000 copies. They ask you to pay for it if you’re going to use it more than that.
As always, read carefully the usage rules on each of these free sites. If in doubt, don’t use the image. Many free stock photo sites will also include search results for pay-for stock photo sites. If you click on one of these and get ported to a pay-for stock photo site these are not free photos. It’s kind of a dirty trick in my opinion, but they have to pay for hosting somehow.