Surge in copyright infringement claims hit UK businesses


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...legally entitled to use each and every image on their websites.”

Mr Orford added: “Recent advancements in technology mean it is increasingly easy and cost-effective for copyright-holders to track the use of their images, so small businesses really need to be careful if they want to avoid receiving a letter through the post demanding money or threatening legal proceedings for copyright infringement.”

The Forum, which is a not-for-profit business support organisation for smaller companies, has issued the following advice to business owners:

Don’t use any old image you find on the internet. Google’s image search has made it quick and easy to find relevant images online, but this does not mean that all images you find are free to use. The copyright will almost always belong to the person who created the image, regardless of whether it’s accompanied by a copyright symbol.

Don’t think the image won’t be found. Even if no one but you visits your website, publishing an image without owning the copyright or buying the rights to publish it infringes on the rights of the person or company that owns the image, and modern software means its quick and easy for copyright-holders to track the use of an image.

Always ask your design company. If you’re working with a web design company to build and manage your website, you are responsible for ensuring they have licensed the images for your use. Ask them where they have sourced the images from and ask to see proof that they have purchased the appropriate rights — or buy them yourself. If no valid licenses exist, the liability may fall on the end client — your company.

Only use the image within its rights. When you buy from a stock photography website, you’re usually not... continued on page three >


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