Search Engine Optimisation Experts

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Image and Content Theft

Yesterday was a bad day for one of our clients. They were hit with a fine for £650 from Getty; this was imposed for the stealing of a solitary image. After an emotional meeting it was decided to remove 680 images from the site. Naturally the task of re-uploading copyright free material will be a tough one.

The message is clear; the stealing of images and content should be avoided at all cost. The problem for most people surrounds the subject of what’s safe and what isn’t. Google images do not display copyright free material; they display a mixture of all types. To ascertain what’s copyright free and what isn’t we need to carry out an advanced search and under the ‘usage’ menu, select the appropriate section.

I’ve now been involved in 5 instances where a client has been hit through the stealing of images. The biggest culprit went to court and subsequently ceased trading, another was fined £15,000 and 3 were hit for smaller amounts. The web should not be viewed as a mass ‘free for all’ platform, especially in the corporate environment. In the future I strongly believe cyber lawyers will become very active in the pursuit of tracking down those who are operating in an unethical manner. You Tube has become a cesspit of illegal activity. People are stealing videos, adding advertising systems and republishing under cloaked accounts. This will continue until the axe falls, when it does, blood will flow.

If you have empowered a web designer to build or modify a site, you need to make sure they are sourcing content and images from ethical sources.

If you're unsure about the definition of safe procedures you should seek professional advice. If you have content and images on your site that you’re uncomfortable with, take remedial action. It’s better to jump than be pushed. 


By Peter Arkwright

Date Written: Tue, Feb 25th 2014