It was well over a decade ago when I got an email that threatened legal action for a website that I had created for a client. I was the technical contact for the site so I was the one who got the notice.
Not to bore you with all the details, in a nutshell it said that the image on the site belonged to them. There were two choices: pay or remove it.
I contacted my client about this image they had sent me and they confessed it didn’t belong to them, but they also specified that they weren’t paying so I removed it. That was a lesson learned for me and now I share this tip with clients and colleagues: if it’s not yours and you don’t have permission, DO NOT USE IT!
That being said, one of the worst situations to get into as a designer (or an entrepreneur who sometimes creates their own designs) is to be confronted with legalities regarding a project. But the simple solution is to use free or paid stock images and graphics.
As a professional, on client projects, I use free stock photos for some stuff. For other projects, I use services like Dreamstime, where I have a paid subscription. This gives me access to graphics that the everyday (non)designer does not have so I have a better chance of projects being unique.
I want to share about a free stock image service called Death To Stock. The free service is actually really simple to use. You go to the site, register and boom! You get stock images emailed to you. They also offer a premium service where you can actually search for the imagery you’d like to use.
Check it out and let me know what you think!