Category: Legal

Beware: Getty Images stock photos NOT Free for Business

You may have heard a couple of weeks ago the worlds leading stock photo company Getty Images, is now offering embedding some of their 35 million stock images for free. This was exciting news to the online community, especially bloggers, who normally don’t have a big budget for purchasing images. However for small businesses this doesn’t change anything.

The free embedding of images from Getty is for non-commercial use only. Getty opened it for editorial use only; this means that you can only use the images in the content where there is a newsworthy or public interest event. You cannot use these images for free for advertising, marketing materials or sponsoring anything. Please review Getty terms carefully. As a rule of thumb, before using any image for business purposes, be sure to review all the licensing information.

Ins and Outs of Website Policies

In this post Jor Law, Esq. from examines the legal requirements when designing a website.

Exciting news…your brand-new website design looks great and it’s ready to go live. You’ve even got that fancy copyright statement on the bottom like all the other websites do. But wait. Many other sites have disclaimers, terms of use, and/or privacy policies. Do you need to have them? Should you have them? Why or why not?

Generally speaking, there is no legal requirement in California to have any disclaimers or site policies on a website. That shouldn’t be confused with other laws which may require protection of confidential collection collected. For example, if a doctor must keep certain client information he or she collects confidential, the fact that such information is collected through a website without a privacy policy does not mean that the doctor no longer has the obligation to keep that information confidential.’

Nevertheless, there are good reasons for having website policies. Terms of use policies can contain important disclaimers and other provisions that help govern the use of your website. What a terms of use policy contains could vary drastically depending on what information is on your website and what website functions are offered. For example, if your website has social networking elements or content contributed by users, you may want to include a disclaimer providing that each person is responsible for the content that they contribute and that you do not review, endorse, or necessarily approve of their content. You may want to reserve the right to remove content that is offensive. If you are providing your own content, you may want to let your users know that, while they have a license to view your content, they may not reproduce it, distribute it, or otherwise use the content in any other way without your prior written consent. Generally speaking, from a legal point of view, a well-drafted terms of use policy serves to benefit you as it generally sets forth conditions of use, various disclaimers, and other language protecting you as the website operator or owner.

A privacy policy, on the other hand, tends to exist for the benefit of the visitors to the website. Without a formal privacy policy, you would be held accountable to the privacy laws anyway. A formal privacy policy typically sets forth items such as how you will collect information, what information you will collect, and how you will or will not use the information you collect. If your privacy policy sets forth certain standards outlining how you will handle information collected on your website, then the expectation is that you will be held to those standards. Obviously, the standards set forth in a privacy policy must be as stringent as those required by law. What that means is that if you have privacy policies that are more stringent than would otherwise be required by law, you have held yourself accountable to that higher level of conduct. Despite this, many websites have privacy policies because the perception is that visitors to a website feel more comfortable divulging their information if there is there is a clear privacy policy.

It is highly advisable that you consult an experienced corporate technology attorney if you seek advice regarding what sort of policies may be appropriate for your website. For those on a budget, an online search will turn up a plethora of terms of use and privacy policies. However, be careful when copying another website’s policies. Aside from possible copyright infringement, the policy that you copy may be tailored to a specific jurisdiction or the unique requirements of that website.


Jor Law, Esq. is a business and corporate attorney and a founding shareholder of Homeier & Law, P.C. He can be reached at (818) 450-1550 x552 or through Copyright © 2009. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated, reprinted, or distributed in any form without permission by the author.

Adding Images to Your Website

taking-photosPictures and images make a web page pop and add color and visual interest to your web page. They illustrate your products so that customers can see what they are buying, they attract and entice people to stay on your website and they provide helpful clues if you are describing a “how to” process.

Finding good graphics for your site can be time consuming and costly. It is not as simple as searching on Google Images and downloading whatever you find. Most pictures, images and in fact any content that is visible on the internet, is protected either explicitly or implicitly by copyright. We do not recommend downloading pictures that you find on the internet unless you have either paid for them or the site explicitly tells you that they are available for public use. Just because you don’t actually see a copyright notice on a web page or image does not mean that anyone can use it. There is a wealth of information available about copyright laws, but for the best information, go straight to the source at

There are some good websites that publish photos and pictures expressly for public use. Some of these require payment. The cost of graphics can vary widely from completely free to hundreds of dollars. Purchase price depends on size but you can find great photos for just a dollar or so. Try for some great pictures at reasonable prices.

Here are some handy links to free image sites (but be sure to check their rules also), or you can go to which searches multiple free sites for you.

Free sites for images:

Taking your own pictures:

While it is convenient to use pictures that already exist there is no reason why you shouldn’t also incorporate your own. The most obvious reason you would do this is if you want to include a photo of yourself or your team on your web site. With today’s digital cameras taking great shots is not as hard as it used to be. Here are a few tips for taking great pictures

  • If you’re going to use the photo you take only for web purposes, make sure you set your camera to the lowest megapixel resolution (no less than 1MP). This will prevent you from uploadling large files that can slow down the loading of your website.
  • Keep the background simple with no clutter and a single color that contrasts well with your foreground image.
  • For faces, don’t get too close and experiment with taking shots from different angles, not just straight on.
  • Don’t zoom. Using the zoom can produce a fuzzy picture unless you are using a high quality camera.