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Yes, Using a Copyrighted Photo Without Permission or License Can Get You Sued

Here’s a basic fact everyone should know: just because a photo appears in a Google search doesn’t mean it’s a free photo that you can use for any purpose. If it’s copyrighted, you could be sued if you use it without permission. That’s what the guy in this 13-minute video found out the hard way.

The video was posted by Internet entrepreneur and marketer Dan Dasilva, who shares that he was recently sued after using a photo owned by Boxist.com photography he found on Google in his Shopify online store.

“The reason I was sued was because I used a picture that I found on Google Images,” Dasilva says in his warning to other content creators.

Dasilva states. “They copyright pictures that they take, and what they do is, they’ll get a copyright on it, and they’ll put it out on the Internet, and it’s freely available on the Internet. If you run a Google search their image will appear.”

Dasilva also doesn’t seem to understand that photos don’t need to be accompanied by a copyright symbol to be copyrighted — in the US, photographers own the copyright from the moment they press their camera shutter.

“For every image that I used that [the photographer] owned that never ever explicitly said on the images ‘can’t be used’ or anything like that, I would potentially be sued for $150,000 if it were to go to court,” Dasilva says.

Dasilva reached a settlement with the photographer on June 5th, 2017, for $27,000. He also paid about $10,000 in legal fees, bringing his total loss from the copyright infringement at around $37,000.

Lesson learned.

(via Dan Dasilva via Reddit)