“But I Found It Online” - The Numbers Behind Image Theft [INFOGRAPHIC]

Say it with me - just because you find something online doesn’t mean it’s free for the taking. The Internet doesn’t just magically appear. There are people doing work to make things for you to read and watch, and despite the fact most people don’t actually know it, artists automatically get the copyright rights for their work, whether it is registered or not. So the next time you want to use an image online, stop to consider where it came from and whether it’s actually fair game.

Nearly 65% of professional photographers have had their work stolen more than 200 times online. Even hobbyist photographers aren’t immune to this issue - 44% report having their work stolen as well. Bloggers and social media users are responsible for the most image theft online - 49% - but even commercial businesses are responsible for image theft 28% of the time. Often an ad campaign will take an image and alter or reproduce it somehow for an ad campaign, giving no credit or monetary compensation to the image’s owner - 72% of images taken by businesses are altered.

If you are looking for an image to use for a blog or social media post, look first for public domain images. All photos taken before 1923 are in the pubic domain. Work published between 1922 and 1978 is protected for 95 years from the date of publication. Work created after 1978 is protected for the life of the creator plus 70 years. Choose your images carefully, and when in doubt just take your own.

Learn more about online image theft from this infographic.
[Infographic] A Snapshot of Online Image Theft
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