Many people think that making use of images from the Internet is allowed and that such images are free for anyone to use. However, unless the owner of an image has specifically granted a public right of use, it is copyright and the owner may sue for breach of copyright if there is use of the image without authorisation.
A removal firm recently found this out to its cost – in this case an out-of-court settlement of £2,000 plus legal costs. The payment came about when the firm was sued by Getty Images for using a single picture from its picture archive.
Some owners of image rights (and Getty is one) use software to search for their images, and issue demands for considerable sums to users who make unauthorised use of them.
Copyright applies equally to text and in a recent case copying a mere eleven words was considered to be a breach of copyright – plagiarists beware!