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Can you use someone else’s photographs?

6th December 2018 by Can you use someone else’s photographs?

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If you’ve been preparing for a presentation and needed some visual prompts to add a little humour to an otherwise dry topic (as a solicitor that advises on data protection law and anti-bribery law this is a common situation for me) it’s often tempting to simply scroll the internet for some suitable photographs. There should be no harm in using one or two photographs, right, especially if it’s already on the internet? The truth is that this could well be a breach of copyright law, as a recent case highlights.

In this instance a student downloaded a photograph from a travel website and included it in their school presentation. The presentation was in turn uploaded onto the school’s website. When the photographer discovered what had taken place, they successfully managed to claim that this was a breach of copyright, and that the photographer had only granted a licence for the photograph to be used on the travel website.

We should add that placing a hyperlink to someone else’s website is not an infringement as the copyright holder retains control of the photograph. If you want to actually show the photograph or image however, then make sure that the copyright owner has waived any rights they may have before using it yourself. Or create your own photograph or image.

If you have any questions regarding copyright protection then please contact Sam Freeman on 01202 557256 or at

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