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Using images from google for brochures - copyright issues

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by ROUND, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. ROUND

    ROUND New Member

    Hi All,
    I currently work for a company and we buy images from shutter stock and also take images from the web (google) which are not paid for and use them in brochures. We are about to do a large print run of several brochures and I want to check who will be liable for any copyright infringements if somebody saw one of their images in our brochures. The company I work for sells advertising display products and I mock up large brands artwork/adverts onto our products.

    I really want to know who would be liable for any copyright infringements, would it be the designer or the company, or both?

    Has anybody had any experience of this kind of thing.

    Many thanks for any advice!
  2. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    The company you work for is liable.

    However, you should make them aware that the images are copyrighted and they are in danger of being sued if found out.

    Just make sure there's that email that says "Hi Boss, these images are copyrighted and we do not have the right to copy them or reuse them, we should buy images and own the copyright to produce them." - "It's ok ROUND, go ahead and use those images", The Boss.

    Buy the images and charge the clients double. It's that simple.
    Stationery Direct and ROUND like this.
  3. ROUND

    ROUND New Member

    Thanks for the advice hankscorpio, I've just written an email to my boss. We/I certainly don't want to get sued!
  4. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    You won't, you're commissioned (paid) by your company who are sole responsibility for artwork.

    Raise the copyright issue - and take it from there. If your company decides to move forward then that's their issue.

    The only time this doesn't apply is if you're on contract/freelance and you take images without consulting the upper-echelons then you're responsible for the work.

    If you're a full time employee, then raise it with the bosses and do as they instruct - use or do not use them.
    ROUND likes this.
  5. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Edit way - raise the issue with the decision makers - bosses or clients.

    But don't make the decision yourself.
    ROUND likes this.
  6. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    I worked for an advertising company where this exact situation arose.

    The bosses were aware that images were not paid for and ignored it on the basis that the customer probably supplied it. That was all very good and well until a customer contacted them saying he was being sued by a competitor for copyright infringement. It cost the compnay a 4 figure sum to keep it out of court and they publicly blamed the artworker that had set the advert who was diciplined for 'gross misconduct'.

    If your boss comes back to you and says "yeah sure, thats fine" but you still don't feel comfortable doing it, you can just refuse. He can't force you to break the law, nor can he sack you for refusing to do so.
    ROUND likes this.
  7. ROUND

    ROUND New Member

    Cheers guys, this is really helpful, thanks for your input, we are going to leave it for now and source alternative imagery.
  8. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Good decision. Designers (of all people) should respect copyright and - without wanting to sound high and mighty - I personally would refuse to use protected material in my work, even if someone else was carrying the risk. Being complicit in any activity that you know to be illegal or unethical is pretty much the same as initiating it.
  9. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    That's not entirely true Dave L.

    AIGA | Copyright Basics for Graphic Designers

  10. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Fair point: I can see that an employee would have a conflict of interests if they were under pressure from above but the principle is still one worth speaking up for (I'm coming at this as an independent supplier so the exception doesn't apply in my case).
  11. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

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