Need an image or your website, mail shot or social media? Just hop on over to google and copy and paste. Easy! Right?

You are aware of something about copyright, and that you’re not supposed to use images created by other people without permission. But you’re just a small business that no one will notice. And it’s just one image, right? You’re not making much, if any, money from using it.

Did you know that Getty images, one of the biggest providers of stock images on the regularly pursue SMEs or copyright infringement? You might think “I’m too small, they’ll never pursue me, they go after the big guys”. Wrong, wrong and wrong again. Small businesses are their easiest targets. As a corporation armoured with a legal team specialising in copyright, they know that no small business will have the money, time, or resources to procure equal specialists to counter their charges. So small businesses are left in a position where often their only course of action is to make a financial settlement.

With new technology (e.g. reverse image search) it is now so easy for companies like Getty to track down where their images are being used online, so do not think that you are unfindable.

So don’t take the chance, if you need images either take them from free image resources (many of which require attribution) or pay for an image resource which does not ask for attribution.

If you do happen to get one of Getty’s ominous letters, take a look at these various help resources online. Check out the advice here, here and here.

Check out my list of the best cheap or free (creative commons) image resources here.