Let me set the scene...
I'm on vacation celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary. It's early in the morning and I'm taking a quick glance through my email inbox before heading out for another day at the beach. I think most of us have done this at least a few times while on vacation.
The subject line of one email caught my eye. It started with "Image License Inquiry". Who the hell is that from? So I opened the email and proceeded to read...
Apparently I had used an image on my website that was copyright protected. The email was requesting proof of my license to use the image or remove it from my website promptly. The last part of the email is what gave me a pit in my stomach, "Please be aware that removal of the imagery will not resolve this issue. We do require payment of a settlement for past usage of the imagery at issue." My mind immediately started racing about how large this "settlement" might be. This is just what I needed while on vacation.
Has this ever happened to you? It may not have been a copyright issue, but as a small business owner I know you've run into any one of the multiple issues that can pop up at the most inopportune times.
I promptly had the image removed from my site and waited for a response on how much money I owed. Turns out this was a $485 mistake! In the case of copyright infringement, ignorance is not bliss and it's not a defensible position. I made the mistake (unintentionally) of using an image I wasn't supposed to. My bad and one I'll add to the long list of mistakes I've made as an entrepreneur. I'm certainly not a copyright expert, but I am much more knowledgeable now than I was before.
CLICK HERE for a glossary of copyright terminology. You can also search "image copyright"and all kinds of information will pop up. It's worth spending a few minutes to learn the lingo, but I'll warn you it can be a little confusing.
I hope you never run into this issue and to help you I've put together a list of the best FREE stock image websites I've found. With all the content most small businesses are putting out there these days finding the right images can be tough and paying for all your images can get really expensive. It's super important to double check the license on any image before you choose to use it. All the sites below have a section explaining the licensing.
Here are some of my favorite FREE stock photo sites. These are the ones I find myself going back to time and time again. It's pretty rare for me to not find what I'm looking for on one of these 5 sites.
Here are some additional sites you might want to check out as well:
These are all great resources to help you find the images you need without spending money every time. Between these 10 sites you should be able to find what you are looking for.
Did you find this helpful? Do you have other favorites? Feel free to comment below and share.
Check out our FREE cheat sheet to convert more of your website visitors to customers. Click the image below to get it now.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President & Founder of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We're the bridge between where you are and where you want to be.