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Challenges For Copyright Owners

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The rise of the internet and social media over the last decade has presented new challenges for copyright owners and users of the internet alike.  In an increasingly competitive global economy, businesses are turning to online advertising in an effort to reach a wider audience and maximise exposure of their products and services and images play an important part in the establishment of online identity.

However, the intellectual property rights in these images are sometimes overlooked – both by businesses who use the images to promote their brand (who may for example believe that they own the copyright in the images when the copyright may in fact have been retained by the original creator of the image) and by third parties who then go on to copy them without permission (perhaps believing that images that are on the internet are “free to use”). 

Before using images that have been created by someone else it is always wise to check whether the image is protected by copyright (artistic works for example are protected by copyright until 70 years after the death of the creator), who owns the copyright in the image and whether the image has been made available on the internet as “free to use” or whether you are required to buy a licence / have permission to use the image.