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EXPERT SERIES – Understanding Copyright and the Imagery on your Website

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Written by Rachel List, Photographer & Designer

“Can I use this picture on my website?”

We get this question all the time from our clients, and the answer depends on the image copyright. Websites today are very visually driven and including compelling photos can help your business gain customers.  Making sure that you aren’t infringing on copyright with the photos you use on your site is incredibly important to avoid costly bills and potential lawsuits. Here are some quick tips on determining which photos you can use on your website without committing copyright infringement.

 

“I took this photo myself, can I use it on my website?”

YES

Copyright for a photo or other creative work is held by the creator of that image or work. If you took the photo, you are the creator and you can use those photos in any way you like.

 

“A friend took this photo; can I use it on my website?”objective

MAYBE

Did your friend give you permission to use the photo? If they did, then yes you can use the photo on your website. If you want to be completely sure you’re covered ask your friend to give you permission to use the photo in writing.

 

“I found a photo I like online; can I use it on my website?”

NO*

In almost all cases, you can’t just find a photo online and use it on your website because you don’t hold the copyright to that image. This is true for almost all online sources from google to Facebook, and everything in between. Just because someone shares a photo online does not mean that it can be used by anyone. The original creator of the image still retains the copyright and can enforce that copyright, which can result in civil or criminal penalties. There are only three exceptions to images found online being off limits for general use.

  1. You purchased the image from a stock photography agency online, which specifically sells photos with limited copyright permissions allowing you to use the photo on your website.
  2. You track down the original creator of the photo that you found online and get written permission to use the photo on your website.
  3. The image is in the public domain. (There are a lot of rules regarding images in the public domain, which we will address in another article)

 

“I purchased a photo from a stock agency, can I use it on my website?”

YES

Stock photography agency’s like iStockPhoto or Fotolia are great places to find imagery for your website and you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement because you are purchasing the right to display the image on your website. Each agency has a slightly different policy about usage rights so if you have questions about how you are using an image you can refer to their usage rights policies to make sure you’re in the clear.

 

“I don’t know where this photo is from, can I use it on my website?”

NO

If you’re unsure where you found a photo and you use it on your website, you could be infringing on copyright and opening yourself up to legal action. It’s better to not use a photo if you’re unsure of where it came from.

 

In conclusion, when selecting images for your website it is important to know where they came from and make sure you have permission to use the image in order to avoid leaving yourself open to civil or criminal penalties.

New Website, Logo Design, and Branding – College Bound Advantage

college bound

Check out our newest website design and launch, College Bound Advantage!  In addition to the website, we worked with the College Bound Advantage team to create their branding logo design, as well as business cards for the first phase of their business launch.

At College Bound Advantage we take the guesswork out of finding the path to your college future.  We combine your interests and strengths and match them with majors and college or universities that fit you.  The result?  An affordable, customized package of college recommendations that ensure your long-term success.  Gone are hours of online searching, enlisting family and friends for ideas, and reading college books.  Also gone are…sub-optimal college choices that result in dissatisfaction, frustration, or just lost opportunities.

Ohio is blessed to have over 60 independent and 14 public colleges and universities as well as 18 community colleges, however each school has different academic programs, degrees of selectivity, cultures, student body demographics, academic support services, cost, student organizations, locations, and resources. Some colleges apply substantive resources to remediation and support a variety of learning challenges; others are highly selective and allocate resources to extending academics, and all in between. Additionally there may be significant differences between the same academic programs (majors) between schools. For example, while one school may offer a Geology major supported by 1 full-time faculty member, limited resources, no active student organization, and limited connection to potential employers yet another, at the same cost, may offer the same major but supports it with 7 full-time faculty members, a large departmental budget, a vibrant and active student organization, an annual study abroad trip, and a recurrent flow of potential employers supporting the program and its students. How will you know which is which?

That’s why we’re here!

Robintek News – February 2016

Robintek Featured Project

College Bound Advantage Logo Design

 

We work with you to get a feel for your business and what kind of image you wish to project. We keep you involved in the logo production process every step of the way. Click here to learn more!

College Bound Advantage is committed to serving families of aspiring college students, and providing access to information necessary to make informed choices about which colleges to attend.  Robintek has completed the logo design and is currently building a custom website.

Robintek Featured Project

Music Guerrilla Business Cards

 

The Music Guerrilla uses music as an accessible portal for personal, educational and emotional growth for schools and community programs, with special attention to underserved and low-income areas. Whether a listener, performer, educator or supporter, The Music Guerrilla serves to empower and inspire a new generation to think, act and create.  Robintek is building the website currently.

Industry News


Instagram Releases Much-Requested Feature

Good news this week for those that handle multiple Instagram accounts, the photo-sharing service has announced that users can now toggle between multiple accounts within the app, without having to log out of one and log into another.  This is a feature that Instagram users have been clamoring for, for quite some time, and starting Monday morning, users already have been able to see that feature.

This is particularly exciting news for small business owners that now have the ability to quickly switch between their business’ account and their personal accounts, not to mention social media managers out there who have long struggled with handling the log in and log out process for several Instagram accounts.  The update, which is version 7.15 for the app, allows up to five separate accounts.

For more information on how to get multiple accounts set up for yourself, check out Buffer’s article here.  And, be sure to follow Robintek on Instagram!

Robintek News – November 2015

Christmas and Holiday Photography Baby

Custom Holiday Cards and Christmas Photography

With the holiday season fast approaching, now is the time to think about correspondence and photography with a more wintery feel. Robintek is happy to help in this arena! Whether it is designing custom holiday cards in print or digital format, or taking photos of your staff on “Ugly Christmas Sweater Day,” consider us your one-stop shop for any and all of these things.

Also, think about the photos on your website. We can adapt your homepage to have more of a holiday or winter feel, with pictures containing holiday lights or snow, whatever your preference, Robintek can make it happen. Let us know how we can be of service!

Robintek Photography

AlaskOmega Website Launch

We launched the AlaskOmega site this past month, let us know how we can make your website as beautiful!

About this Client

“Organic Technologies is the producer of MSC-certified AlaskOmega® omega-3 concentrates and natural fish oil products. We start with wild-caught Alaska Pollock oil from the cold, pure waters of Alaska’s Bering Sea, which is then further refined and concentrated in our family owned and operated NSF-certified GMP facility in Ohio.”

AlaskOmega
 

November Newsletter

Industry News: SEO

You Keep Saying SEO – What Does That Mean?

SEO is a hot term in the marketing world today, and it seems like it’s one of those things you need, even if you aren’t exactly sure why. In the digital marketing realm, SEO is the cornerstone to any good strategy for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

First things first, what does it stand for? SEO is search engine optimization. We can almost hear you saying to yourself, “great, I’m still not sure what that means.” Search engine optimization is the practice of ensuring that a website can be found on search engines, by “baking in” relevant words and phrases for your business, as well as generating new content for the site (blog, updated FAQs) and having links to your company social media channels.

Why is this important? If you’ve put forth the effort to have a great looking website, the objective is to have as many eyeballs see it as possible, and for that to happen, the effort to make it optimized for Google (and Bing, Yahoo, etc.) needs as much attention and care as the aesthetics of your website itself. It doesn’t stop there though, as there are directories out there everywhere (YP.com, WhitePages, CitySearch, etc.) can list your business under specific categories, and having accurate name, address, phone number, and URL information (NAPU) is very important.

Google is the Goliath of the search engine realm, so any SEO efforts need to be made with them in mind first. What does Google want to see in order for your site to come up as highly as possible? Things like the title of the webpage, the meta description, and the headers need to be “keyword-rich” with the most relevant terms that users will type into a search engine to find your type of business. For example, if you have an antique shop, terms like “antique” and “vintage” should appear frequently.

Going beyond the keywords and phrases that will help your website get found, it’s not enough to just do those things once and leave it be. Google rewards sites that are constantly generating new content, whether that is in the form of a blog, or updating a frequently asked questions page, or even frequent posts to your social media channels. Reviews are ever increasing in popularity and importance to search engines. Google business pages now prominently display star ratings based on the reviews they’ve received.

As if that is not enough, Google also looks favorably on websites that are responsive to mobile devices, meaning they will shrink and reshape themselves on the screen of a phone or tablet, without sacrificing the integrity of the site and its content (not to mention, making sure you can still read it!)

Still not convinced as to why SEO is important for your website? Consider these numbers, courtesy of Paper.li and Forbes:

  • 97% of consumers now search for local businesses online
  • 78% of small businesses get at least a quarter of their new customers via social media
  • 75% of users do not scroll past the first page of search results
  • Over 82% of internet users use search

Robintek has the expertise to help with all these things, from redesigning your website to be sure it is properly optimized to feeding your business’ accurate NAPU info to over 75 directories in one fell swoop. The process might seem overwhelming, so let us know how we can be of service to you!

Request a Consultation

Using Nature’s Patterns In Logo Design

Check out this article, posted by Smashing Magazine, about gaining inspiration from nature and using it to create a great logo design. Read more here.

“There are only a handful of fundamental patterns that create all of the natural diversity around us. Nature’s patterns perform three basic tasks that get the work of the universe done by moving, storing and connecting energy.”

 

100 Brilliant Color Combinations: And How to Apply Them to Your Designs

Get inspired by this collection of lovely color combination posted by Canva.com. Read more here.

“It can attract attention, set a mood, and even influence our emotions and perceptions. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to start when choosing a color palette for your design project — so if you’re in need of some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.”

What It Means to Design With Personality: 25 Awesome Case Studies

Get inspired with these 25 awesome case studies explaining what it means to design with personality. Read more at Canva.com.

“Think about some of the friends in your life right now. Who are the standouts? And why? For the most part, it will be the ones with whom you feel the greatest connection. The reason? The unique qualities of their personality gel with the unique qualities of your personality. That connection you feel can mean the difference between a good friend and a great friend.”


Inspiration: Clean And Thin Line Designs For Logos

Check out this collection of inspiring logo designs that incorporate clean, thin lines. View the full collection here at naldzgraphics.com.

“Logos today are more preferred to be clean, clear, and distinct. The simplicity makes it easier for people to perceive the design, thus making it easier to be described and remembered. With this current demand, designers have adapted the use of thin line in creating designs to their projects such as logos.”

 

Designing Patterns: The Biggest Web Trend of 2015

Incorporating some aspect of pattern design in website design seems to be the newest trend in webdesign right now. Check out a few examples of how to incorporate this trend into you next design project. Read more at WebDesignerDepot.com

“2015 has inherited a lot of trends from previous years, there’s been a steady evolution of ideas — Flat Design into Material Design for example — but nothing as revolutionary as Responsive Design. Patterns serve a variety of purposes, from communicating a brand value, to adding motion to an interface, to enlivening the simple blocks of color that flat design favors. And the use of patterns, although not scientifically categorizable, falls into one of five broad and inter-related categories.”


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