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Picture Copyrights

Learn all about picture copyrights, and why you should not just copy images from the web.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: NA

Date Created: June 27th 2011
Last Updated: June 27th 2011

At one extreme is a presentation that is bereft of any visual content, and the other extreme is a set of slides that have all visuals and almost no text. In this blog post, I am not advocating which is a better approach but contemporary presentations almost always include many visuals on slides, an approach that is highly encouraged these days. The adage, a picture is worth a thousand words has been heard more than a thousand times, and yet the truth in that statement still holds good, except in one scenario, and that is all about where the visuals actually came from — we discuss this next.

Many people are quite happy searching for keywords on Google’s image search (and similar search options on sites such as image searches on Bing and Yahoo!) -- they then copy / paste the visual content they find right into their slides!

Google Image Search

Now that approach may work for a 8 year old kid doing a school classroom project, and even in that scenario, it is debatable if using this option is ethical or not. Most of the time though, the worst offenders are presentation creators from the corporate sphere, who follow the exact same procedure: copying / pasting the visual content in their slides from Google’s image search results – and that’s certainly something that’s needs to be frowned upon! The worst part is that many of these designers don't believe they are breaking any copyright laws because most people believe that almost anything on the web is free! Unfortunately, that is not true.

I know of one anecdote: the secretary for the company’s CEO inadvertently copy/pasted pictures from a competitor’s web site into the slides of the presentation that the CEO was delivering at an industry forum. And the same competitors were part of his audience that day! Imagine that the secretary could do something like that, and the CEO never once checked his slides until he had to present them – the sad part is that these occurrences happen more frequently than we can imagine, and not many people even get worried about this violation of copyrights!

There’s absolutely no excuse in not worrying about copyrights these days, especially with the amount of free and low priced visual content that is available copyright free these days. Even if the content was not free or low priced, the loss of reputation and face resulting from such copyright violation is not something any company or professional can disregard these days.

In subsequent articles, you will learn more the concepts that let you understand about copyrights violation, permissions, Creative Commons, etc.


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