Could an Old Blog Image Cost Your Company $8,000?

In blogging, content marketing by WebPyro

You Should Check (and Possibly Delete) Your Old Images. Like right away.

There’s been a crazy development out in the wild world of the World Wide Web. Companies with knowledge of the law have managed to exploit companies out of thouseands of dollars. How do they do it? They purchase old licensed and stock photography and then find copies of these been suing and in some instances getting large sums of money ($8,000 anyone?) for old images.

Sounds scary huh? How is this even possible/legal?

It’s actually really easy for these companies to do. Since many stock photography sites post all their images to be easiliy searched for, they can purchase the rights for the old images from these stock photography sites. Then they simply search using a tool like Google image search to find images that have been used and which the user doesn’t show the proper rights and the ability to show that they legally used the photo.

So how do you guard yourself?

If you have kept careful records of old blog posts and media usage, you should be in good shape. It doesn’t hurt to go back through your subscriptions and purchases and make sure that you can prove that you have ownership of each one. If you can’t find proof, then it’s probably a good idea to get rid of that image entirely.

Jonathan from EBWAY CREATIVE describes one instance that thankfully didn’t cost him $8,000.

We had a blog post from 2012 with an image on it that got maybe a few hundred visits. Not even a huge or popular post at all. So, we got a letter from Getty saying they couldn’t validate that we actually purchased the graphic. Which makes sense at first because EBWAY didn’t buy it. My other company did “The Revenue Factory.” But, I shut down TRF in 2013 and EBWAY assumed that brand. We later re-leased under but that’s a different story. Anyways, since I couldn’t prove that EBWAY owned this image, I was told I had to “Pay $1700 is usage fees and removing the image would not make this go away.”  So, I called them – went over the whole story and they were like… “We’ll settle for $280.00 today.” – Since I was talking to a legal department and knew they had more money and resources, I wasn’t going to fight them – so I paid them for it.

If you have any questions about how image usage on your blog or would like to redesign and refresh your website, contact us to get a conversation started.