Copyright: Using images for social media

Copyright in Images

Copyright: Using images on social media

If you ever wondered if you can use that image you found through a Google search on your social media post or on your website, this post is for you.

Copyright protection of images

Every photograph or image created is protected under Copyright. Copyright protection is automatic for an original work to the benefit of the its creator and protects the work from copying or publication by others. For example the person taking a photograph is the first owner of the Copyright in the image. Learn more about Copyright & Copyright Registration.

Can I use an image found through Google search?

Unless there is a clear indication to the contrary, you should assume that any image found through Google or online is Copyright protected and that the owner has not waived their Copyright. That means you would need to ask permission from the Copyright owner before using the image. If you don't, then you may be found to be infringing a copyrighted work.

Linking to another page or news story

Generally in Canada, a hyperlink by itself is not a publication of copyrighted work, and therefore not copyright infringement. Accordingly, if you find a news story you want to post about on your social media, only link to the story. Do not copy the images and/or literary content from the page and put this content in your post as then you are publishing the copyrighted work without permission.

Tips for avoiding copyright infringement

Below are few ways to ensure that you aren't infringing someone's
copyrighted work, you can:

1) use your own images  - from a marketing perspective, this is likely better as the content will be unique
2) check images found online to see if there is a creative commons license & review the license requirements/use restrictions
3) purchase photos from stock photo agencies like Shutterstock or iStock.
4) check if your use of the image falls under the Fair Dealing exceptions. Learn more about Fair Dealing Copyright exceptions.

Do you have an image you want to protect? Contact Sander Law to register your Copyright!

The above content is for informational purposes only and is not legal or professional advice.