Copyright Images: Can I use this image on my website?

11 Dec. 2014 - - Total Reads 6,073

Copyright Images

If you’ve ever written a blog, launched a website or published anything in the online space then you’ve probably wondered whether or not you’re allowed to use a particular image sourced from another site on the web. Those are copyright images that others cannot use. Most people want to do the right thing, but using good quality images in a post or an info page just makes for a far more engaging piece of communication. You’ve also probably noticed that most online publishers use a lot of commercial images and wondered how they would ever request permission for all those images. Publishers like Buzzfeed churn out image-heavy content all day, every day, and they are a profit-making business.
“If they can do it, why can’t I?”
Sites like this can legally use copyright images under the exception of fair use (USA) or fair dealing (Australia). This exception applies to cases such as the following: criticism, parody, news reporting, research and teaching. News and satirical publishers like Buzzfeed, Mashable or Perez Hilton would cite either news reporting or Parody as case for fair-use or fair-dealing. There are differences in the laws for both countries, but in circumstances like this they are consistent. Memes fit under the parody exception, which is part of the reason they are able to go viral so quickly as almost all are based on copyrighted material. So basically they are copyright images.   Copyright Images

“I found this image on Google image search, can I use it?”

We get this question a lot from clients who run commercial websites. The answer is usually no. If you have a website that’s promoting your business or selling products or services online, then it will likely be deemed commercial use. If your commercial website runs a blog, then you may be able to claim fair-use within posts recommending products or talking about industry issues and the image is relevant. Those are copyright images. If you want to use an image that you don’t own on your website, you have four practical options:

Option A:

Buy a camera.

Option B:

Source an image from the creative commons. There are a number of sites online that are repositories for images with lapsed copyright. Copyright is automatically held 50 years and can be renewed if required so generally you’ll only find little old ladies in petticoats and turn of the century children’s illustrations in these resources.

Option C:

Purchase an image from a stock photography website like, which provide you with a limited licence to use that image. If you have a commercial website but don’t want to invest in a professional photo shoot, then this is your best bet.

Option D:

Be confident that your use of the image falls under the exception of fair-use or fair dealing.  If you are unsure it is best to err on the side of caution; however in most jurisdictions, copyright holders are required to issue a cease and desist order before taking action. This gives the publisher an opportunity to take the image down from a website. It’s a lot easier to do in the online environment than a printed publication, so the risk to website publisher’s is minimal.

Different types of IP Copyright/ Copyright Images

If you are the creator you don’t need to copyright your work. Copyright is automatic and doesn’t require the author to fill out any special paperwork. The use of the (C) and year are traditionally used to mark the year the work was produced, making copyright valid from that date.


Very different to copyright and legally registers a name, phrase or symbol to the owner. Trademarks are used to protect businesses from other’s trading and benefiting off their name and good will. Trademarks are not automatic and require a thorough application process in each country required to protect the property.


Applicable to inventions, patents are to protect inventors from having their ideas and concepts stolen or replicated. Patents also play an important part in protecting investors who spend large sums developing new products. If patents weren’t enforced, there would be nothing stopping rivals copying each others’ products and create little incentive for investment in new ideas.

Michael Simonetti
Posted by:

Post Reads: 6.1K

Share this
FreyaAlvarado Said :
"Hi to every body, it's my first visit of this blog; this webpage contains amazing and genuinely fine material designed for readers."

Trusted by

Buy Aussie Now
Arthur Galan
Dinosaur Designs
Magento Solution Specialist
Ego Pharmaceuticals
Unsw Australia
Melbourne Heart
Oakdale Meat Co
Passage To India
Melrose Health
Toy World
Arc One
Engine Swim
Loan Market
131 Pizza
Switzer Media+Publishing
Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre – MSAC
Passage Foods
Hairhouse Warehouse
The Burger Cheese
High Street Armadale
Catholic Insurance
McArthur Skincare
Bulk Nutrients
Grow Your Business
Bank of Cyprus
James Buyer Advocates
Australian Anthill
Etihad Stadium
Palace Cinemas
Natralus Australia
DUSA, Deakin University Student Association
Tomorrow Stars Basketball
Heat Holders
Sports Power
OMS – Order Management System
POSTER Magazine
Marshall White
Aqium Gel
Moov Head Lice
Vendor Advocacy Australia
GPT Group
Associated Press
SMH – The Sydney Morning Herald
Ubertas Group
21st Century Australia Party
Instant RockStar
Fairfax Media
Macmillan Publishing
QV Skincare
Positive Poster
Focus On Furniture
Melrose MCT
Viktoria & Woods
Federation Square
Carlton Football Club
Sunday Creek
Florsheim Shoes
Australian Physiotherapy Association
Van Egmond Group
DeeWhy Market
Dial Before You Dig
Federation University Australia
Victorian Government
Bondi Sands
SwinBurne University of Technology
Mecca Brands
One Shift
Matchbox Homewares
CAN- Common Wealth Bank
The Canberra Times
ISO Certified
Green St Juice CO
Madman Entertainment
LBG Australia and New Zealand
Plan It Sync It
Wild Rhino Shoes
Amino Active
Mamma Lucia
Tek Ocean
ADP Payroll
Grays Ecommerce
CSquared Executive
Street Kitchen
CB Richard Ellis
Melbourne Central
National Museum of Australia
Brisbane Times
Engineers Without Borders
White Suede
NMI Insurance
Australian Government
National Relay Services
Royal Freemasons
Think & Grow Rich Inc
Fresh Cheese Company
Smart Company
Castran Gilbert
Watches of Switzerland
SunSense Digital Agency
Australian Organic Food CO
The Fortune Institute
Acquia Certified Site Builder Drupal
The University Of Melbourne
Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals
Rock Pool Group
Atlantic Group of Companies
Cronos Australia
Celebrate Health
The Age
RMIT University
Craft CMS
Boston Consulting Group
Bintani Australia
Adobe Professional
Parker Lane


Michael and his team have just launched our new website and the team at AndMine have been professional and a pleasure to deal with. From the very start, it was evident that Michael was able to deliver a first class website and gave great advice about social media and other tools we need to consider, given the nature of our business. After several design phases, we worked closely together and achieved a result that we are very happy with. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending AndMine for web and online marketing related services. Illona Vak, C Squared Executive

More Testimonials