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.
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.