Copyright and online images: let's clarify

copyright and online images: let's clarify

The first time you use a copyrighted image you never forget it: at best, you receive a threatening letter from a lawyer ready to sue; at worst the complaint it snaps automatically. This is why, when entering the dangerous world of the web (at least in the context of the freedom to use photographs) it is important to understand whether the images you are using are protected by copyright or not.

With the beginning of the era of social networks, jurisprudence has recently expanded the concept of photohandwriting protected by copyright by indenting enough to make it attributable to whoever took the photo even in the absence of other indications of authorship. That means you can't take these photo without first checking.

It's all about pure and simple survival, and above all a very clever way to avoid involving customers in very unpleasant things copyright disputes which usually end badly. Here is the guide of Innovando.

"Free" images: when to trust

You see it there, on Instagram, as beautiful as the sun, and you think: “I'm using it right away for my new blog post”. However, be warned. When you search for an image on the internet to use for your personal purpose and profit, for Instagram or for the cover of your new book, you have to be careful that the image is not covered by any copyrights. What, in jargon, we call copyright. If you even doubt that the photo can be protected, know that you are risking that someone can sue you, ask for compensation (even tens of thousands of euros) and win it. Not being an expert in law is not an excuse that protects you from these unpleasant tasks, and we can teach you how to protect yourself from the worst risks. In other words, how to know if that precise image is protected by copyright?

Author rights or copyright?

In reality, it is quite easy to understand if the necessary premises are made, such as for example the functioning of copyright in Italy, in particular that referring to images. What is the difference between copyright or royalties? In reality they are practically synonymous: the Italian copyright law establishes the authorship of works such as texts, books, photos, videos, music and much more. Copyright is instead its Anglo-Saxon equivalent, and the differences between them are very few. The leveling out is due to the fact that by now the protection of works of art is based on an international scale.

What is copyright and how does it work?

The first thing you need to know to understand if the photo is copyrighted it is the protection of the images. Whenever a person creates a work of intellect or art, he becomes the owner of the related copyright. In short, if you have made a wooden spoon, there is no doubt that it is yours because you made it with your own hands. You don't need to go to a public registry to declare it so. Copyright is similar: when you create a novel, a post on Facebook or a photograph, you automatically become its owner, without needing to deposit the rights or register with SIAE. Ownership is automatic and by nature.

In other words, every time you take a photo, it belongs to you and cannot be cloned or copiedunder penalty of copyright infringement. Image protection is automatic, regardless of whether the owner has specified in the disclaimer that all rights are reserved. In other words, we have to turn the question around: How do we know whether or not the image is free from copyright?

The rights on intangible assets are in fact regulated by the law of the State of use (art. 54, Law 218/1995) for which the Law of Author Italian company it applies to works that are used in the territory Italian taste. The law gives the author of a work the exclusive right to use the work.

Simple photographs vs photographic works

An image can be protected by copyright provided it has a minimum of originality and is creative, thus having something personal. In other words, you can't copyright the standard tiramisu recipe, because it doesn't bring any culinary novelty. In the same way, you cannot claim to be the owner of the shot of a historic building that a thousand other people have already photographed. It is photographic works that are protected by copyright, i.e. those endowed with a creative or personalization nature, such as particular shots, filters, post-production or other.

Not all photos are copyrighted, only the original ones. And mind you: an ugly work is not necessarily free of rights. However, if it does not have particular artistic ambitions, it is usually free. Since none of us are fortune tellers, and often we are not even qualified to determine which photo is "art" and which is not, we advise you to pay attention to the photos where the author is expressly indicated, and if it is, mention him on your blog in order to maintain maximum safety in this regard.

To find out if a photo is protected by copyright, you can also check for the © symbol on the caption. However, this is not an absolute guarantee. If you are in doubt whether an image may be under copyright protection, write to the person who published it and ask the owner's permission to republish it on your blog.

You are free to use the images only when the photos are part of a compendium in which it is clearly specified that all rights are free and the images are freely usable.

Searching for photos through Google Images: Is it safe?

Google images, more often than not, can help you trace the source of a photograph. This means you can use it to figure out who it belongs to, and where it has already been posted. In this way you will be able to understand who the author is and, potentially, ask him for permission to use it with due "credits". Go to the Google Images page, click on the camera icon and enter the photo you want to verify. Upload and wait for the results: you'll get a series of lines telling you the possibility that your photo has already been used or actually belongs to someone.

Searching Google Images still exposes you to a margin of human error. That's why we recommend using sites that sell photos, such as Shutterstock, istock, fotolia or many others. In this way you know what you are buying and you are always calm. If you don't have any money to spend, there are sites that offer as well free and copy-free images, such as Pexel or Pixabay. The quality is slightly lower, you'll notice, but if your budget is tight and you don't want to take any risks, this is definitely the way to go.