Use Caution When Sharing Images on Social Media or Your Website

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Oct 29, 2018

 Use Caution When Sharing Images on Social Media or Your Website
It’s very easy these days to share images you find inter­est­ing on social media or your com­pa­ny blog. In fact, it can be a lit­tle TOO easy… If you are using images for busi­ness pur­pos­es, you just need to be espe­cial­ly care­ful about what you are shar­ing and make sure you have the prop­er license. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I have my own cau­tion­ary tale from this past month to share… I hope this helps pre­vent you from any sort of pho­to licensing/​usage headaches! 

Are You Allowed To Share Houzz Photos?

Houzz encour­ages you to share their images with your social media out­lets and even your com­pa­ny blog. They make it super easy. All you need to do is find the image you want to share, click the share but­ton, and decide where you want to place the image. If you are shar­ing it on your web­site, you can use their embed code (it’s eas­i­er than it sounds, and as a bonus it dis­plays all the prop­er pho­to attri­bu­tion on its own, includ­ing a link back to the image on Houzz!). I reached out to Houzz to make sure it was legal and safe. They assured me it was total­ly fine! What could go wrong then, right? What they did not tell me is that they, Houzz, take zero lia­bil­i­ty or own­er­ship of all Houzz pho­tos uploaded by their com­mu­ni­ty. So a user on Houzz is agree­ing that they are the own­er of the images they upload to their pro­file, but Houzz real­ly is just tak­ing their word for it.

Noth­ing In Life Is Free

Here is the deal: you are free to share Houzz images on your site or social media outlets.  How­ev­er, if the image you want to share was not legal­ly uploaded by the Houzz user, you actu­al­ly will be liable if there ever is an infringe­ment case. I know this because it hap­pened to a client of mine this year. There is no way in the world to know if any pic­ture was legal­ly owned and uploaded by a Houzz user. So my con­clu­sion: do not share Houzz pho­tos on your web­site. It is not worth the risk of hav­ing to pay an infringe­ment fee.

What Now?

It is bet­ter to be cau­tious in today’s dig­i­tal age. Use your own pho­tos and videos. There are plen­ty of ambu­lance-chas­ing com­pa­nies out there trolling around to find loop­holes, hop­ing to get a few bucks from busi­ness­es. If you are writ­ing a blog and just don’t have the right image to use, pay for the rights to one from a rep­utable source. For exam­ple, I pay a month­ly fee for access to stock pho­tos. It can get expen­sive because if I don’t use a cer­tain num­ber of pho­tos each month, I still pay a min­i­mum fee. How­ev­er, it is a way to pro­tect my com­pa­ny and the com­pa­nies that hire A David Cre­ation. It pays to play it safe! TIP: Let all your employ­ees know that they can only post their own pho­tos and videos tak­en with com­pa­ny devices (not their per­son­al phones). They can­not upload or share images or videos with­out the prop­er licenses. 

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.

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