Celebrity gossip blog RollingOut.com has landed itself in some trouble over using photographs of Beyonce and the Kardashian family without permission. Photography agency Mavrix Photographs LLC filed the lawsuit against RollingOut and its owner Steed Media Group Inc in California Central District last Friday, 03 January, claiming at least two photographs owned by Marvix were used on the gossip site.
The case will serve as a stark reminder to website operators that if you want to use someone else’s photographs, you must ask the photographer’s permission. Just because they’re on the internet does not mean they are free for all. Using unauthorised photographs is an infringement of the photographer’s intellectual property rights and you could face legal action! A lot of myths are out there surrounding copyright and the internet. While copyright laws do struggle to keep up with the world of social media and blogs, that doesn’t change the fact that if you didn’t take the image, you probably don’t own it. And remember, attribution does not negate copyright infringement. Stating where you took the image from or citing the photographer may help appease the copyright owner but it doesn’t change the law – you are still infringing the owner’s copyright. There are plenty of decent public domain and creative commons images out there which you can use without breaking any laws! Otherwise, you need to get permission.