Eye catching images can be a great addition to your website design, as people have an instant response to recognisable and pleasing visuals. The use of graphics that grab the attention of your visitors is equally as important as well written content and blogs. In the age of celebrity culture, the use of famous faces and popular media figures can be an effective way of connecting with people, but there does seem to be some confusion surrounding the legality of using celebrity images from the internet.
Many companies have embraced the process of incorporating pictures into their web design, and fill their websites with images of their employees at work and play. If you wish to use celebrity images or photographs taken by others, however, it is wise to be aware of the details when it comes to copyright infringement. Currently, UK law does not recognise image rights or rights of publicity, which means celebrities have to rely on passing off to successfully prevent or halt the use of their images without permission. The celebrity in question must show that they have goodwill in their image and that there has been a misrepresentation leading to public deception.
If you wish to use images of celebrities as part of your overall web design package, there is a worry free way to do so. Public domain refers to images that are available to the public and not covered by copyrights or intellectual property. There are a multitude of public domain sites available, with each one dedicated to particular mediums. For instance, if you operate a travel or clothing website you can simply search public domain sites with images relating to these sectors.
PublicDomainPictures.net permits free downloading of images and features an array of categories from architecture, animals and business to food, landscape, office and holidays. Wikimedia Commons currently offers over 10 million freely usable media files including public domain images. These are just two of the many online sites offering images that are free from copyright.
When you place public domain images on your site, it is simply a matter of common sense. Be sure to avoid connecting celebrities with your product or implying any form of endorsement. If the image is in the public domain (meaning the creator of the original image released their rights to it), or if you purchase an image and its copyright from a stock photo company or a photographer, you can comfortably use it. If however, you are unsure if an image is in the public domain or the creative commons, avoid using it in your website design until you have obtained permission.