Googling & Stock Photos

GOOGLING for Trouble!

So, let’s say you need an image for your website. So you hopped on Google and did an image search. Let’s say you found the perfect one! Before you download that image and throw it on your website– don’t! Don’t do it!

I’m telling you folks, the repercussions are about as pleasant as a pocketful of cash at a Pickpocket Convention.

With that said, let’s talk about Stock Photography.

Google has become the great and powerful Wizard of Oz by evolving into the go-to source for questions, news stories, facts (I use that term loosely), information and photographs. If you’re trying to find something, the first thing most people do is GOOGLE it! However, while search engines have made a plethora of information readily available to us, keep in mind that available does not mean it is free to use.

Copyright infringement doesn’t only apply to a written body of work. It also applies to images. Using images for print or media for your business without permission gives Stock Photography companies or independent photographers an open invitation to request payment from you for using their product and more often than not, they get pretty cranky when they cite you on this. Additionally, you should also be aware that damages could range from a few hundred to a few thousand – per image. Yikes!

It is an unfortunate but not an uncommon event to get an unpleasant letter in the mail or in an email requesting immediate payment for images that you simply chose from Google once you’ve been ‘caught’. In letters such as these, you’ll read about the crimes you’ve committed, the penal code they’re citing, the total they’re seeking to collect and the consequences that will follow if payment is not remitted.

This is what it feels like!

Thankfully, Liam Neeson isn’t quitting his day job anytime soon, but Stock Imagery companies and independent photographers are quite serious about collecting payment if their product is used without permission. If you’ve never been in this situation, let’s keep it that way! It’s just not worth it.

Instead, consider purchasing images from stock photography companies, hire a photographer, or take your own shots. It actually comes out to be a lot cheaper in the long run and you bypass the red tape and sticky legalities.

In your dashboard, you’ll notice that you have to agree and confirm that you either own or have the rights to use the image you’re about to upload. We’ve put that there to urge you to double check the status of the image you want to use, as once it’s posted, you are assuming all responsibilities and repercussions. The rule of thumb is this; If you’re not sure, don’t upload the image. Your Page Editor will allow you to place a photo without requiring you to agree and confirm ownership or documentation, but understand this – it doesn’t matter where you place an illegal image, you’re still susceptible to being cited for it if you place it on your website.

If you send photos to us, please be aware that we must make sure that you own the images or have a license to use them before we place them anywhere in your website. If the images you want to place don’t have a proper license or if you don’t own them, unfortunately they cannot be posted by a YAC employee. Alternatively, Customer Service is always happy to help you with stock images and can answer questions, so please contact us for help.

If you have already been contacted by a Stock Photography company or a photographer for copyright infringement, here are a few guidelines:

  • Who Sent the Letter : There’s a scam for everything these days, so be sure you’ve been contacted by the actual stock photography company or the photographer that took the image.

  • Hey! I bought a license: Sweet! Present that immediately! Mistakes happen!

  • Okay, I used the photo! What now: First remove it from your website, and then you’ve got the option of paying the fee, or contacting your attorney.

For more information about copyright infringement with images, please visit this link:

While common, this is too often a costly mistake, and you’ll breathe a lot easier if you just skip this chapter in life and only use Google to find answers for stuff like; “Is it illegal to eat chicken with a fork in Gainesville, GA.”

Go ahead! Google it!

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