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 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. But instead of simply warning people about the dangers of infringing on photographers’ copyrights, Dasilva decides to warn people about “malicious” people out there who are trying to profit off their copyright.
“I never really thought that there are malicious people out there… there are people out there who maliciously put pictures on the Internet,” 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.