When copying becomes a costly business

Images are freely available and easily searched using online search engines such as Google images. Given their ease of accessibility many Internet users are forgetting that photos are a type of intellectual property.

This means that photos (at all stages of editing) are protected by copyright. That copyright is not lost on publication whether online or otherwise. The photographer does not have to display the © symbol or mark their pictures with a watermark to claim copyright.

Before publishing the photos a photographer should obtain the consent of any people whose images appear in the photo or their parents if they are minors before publishing the photos.

If you are a photographer and you want to exploit your images there are many agencies which will enable your photo to be licensed effectively. It is easy to track the use and reproduction of images on line using software available online.

If you have used, copied or shared images without obtaining the appropriate licence you could be facing claims of £1,000 or more.

"Frettens can assist in prosecuting or defending claims of this nature and we have helped a number of clients to reach amicable settlements in cases of this nature, but we would always advise anyone intending to use images to obtain the appropriate permissions. It is all too easy to be caught out online!" advises Dispute Resolution Solicitor, Michelle Hayter.

Our Dispute Resolution Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or her team, will be happy to chat about your situation.