In principle, photos are subject to copyright protection, regardless of whether they were taken by the user or by others. Photos play a major role in the creation of websites because photos can provide pictorial documentation or, if you will, a blueprint of real events. This often leads to boundary violations, and the question of copyright ownership arises more quickly than many a web designer would like.
It is not uncommon for the client of an Internet presentation or a social media manager to work with "non" verified material. This can lead to warnings, at the latest when the copyright owner comes forward and objects to the use of the photo. This is not even done by the copyright owner himself, but by law firms or other agents who search the Internet for copyrighted photos. Not infrequently, this is pure rip-off and sometimes such warnings are not sufficiently substantiated.
People pay far too often and far too quickly for fear of escalation and possible prosecution. Now that the new data protection regulations (DSGVO) have also come into force, the fear is even greater when using photos. This is exacerbated by the excessive dissemination of photos, especially on social media.
This is exploited by those who send out warnings, who are out for a quick buck and sometimes even get away with it. Therefore, the most important legal principle is not to use unverified copyrighted material in any form.
The safest way is to take photos yourself. This shouldn't be too difficult with product photos, but it often involves a lot of work. Product photos can also be provided by the manufacturer, but a written confirmation of use by the manufacturer is absolutely necessary. You'll have to want to go this circuitous route for stores and online sales, and it's doable. Photos also have a license number or label. Photos in stock archives, which are image libraries, generally have a license number, which is what matters in a review.
Stock archives are great for photos for representative purposes. But be careful; commercial use and editorial use need to be checked here. Commercial means if I want to make money from the photo, which can happen if a stock photo contains a manufacturer's logo, for example. Editorial use is often used in blogs, articles and descriptions or documentation. Wherever the description by photos is obviously for sales, but does not play a role, we speak of editorial use.
Not to be neglected is the use of photos in social media. Here, copyright violations are commonplace when people are photographed or appear where it is not desired. This is a person's personal right, which is easy to understand. Everything changes when it somehow and sometime hurts people emotionally or deprives them of their profit to which they have a right.
All this can be complicated, and that is why there are photographers who make their personally copyrighted material available to the masses from the beginning. If people are in these photos, they must have made themselves available to sell the photos. In the case of such photo licenses, paid photos must be assumed to have such consent from the reseller, such as the stock photo provider.
There is also the so-called freedom of panorama to photograph objects because they are part of public life. This seems to be no problem at first. But what if I photograph well-known objects, but do not use these photos exclusively for representative purposes, but want to sell them. A violation of the freedom of panorama can also exist if, for example, I place a sneaker that I want to sell unmistakably in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Or if I take a photo in which a clearly identifiable person walks through the picture behind the sneaker, which is to appear in an online store for sales purposes. In this case, the freedom of panorama may be restricted and should be checked by a specialist copyright lawyer before use. Incidentally, taking pictures with a drone can also restrict the freedom of panorama, which also plays a major role.
The reason for this is that the freedom of panorama is only evaluated from the perspective of the human field of view. A drone with a maximum flight altitude of 120 meters exceeds the usual human field of view. This becomes more understandable when a drone goes up and films the lady of the house in a bikini in the middle of a historically significant forecourt, which she does not agree with at all.
Checking photos for usability is not necessarily difficult if the origin is known. With stock archives, I can avoid hassles with license numbers and permission to use on social media. With stock archives containing thousands of images, it's safe to use. Creating your own photos is now only worthwhile in certain cases, such as corporate and product photography, anywhere where stock photos are not useful.
Copying photos, while easy and tempting, is no longer worth it because licensed photos are now affordable and also offer much more choice and very often more professionalism. This reduces the chance of takedown success for rip-off artists and plays a big role in legally safe content management in web design and use in social media.
As a service provider, we can take enough professional photos ourselves. We use DSLR cameras or special apps for sufficiently representative photos. With the order of photos and the purchase we automatically transfer the right of use to the buyer. About this he receives a proof of purchase and may use these photos at his free disposal. Of course, we also use stock archives, if the customer agrees to the use of the selected photo.
Here, the customer has free choice and decides for himself which photo he wants to use. In these cases, the use of the photo is entered into the stock archive with the license number and the name of the customer or customer project and confirmed in writing. Such stock archives are available in a wide variety, we like to use Envarto Elements, Code Canyon or Clipdealer licensing.