We have now had two clients find out what happens when you use photos that aren’t yours in the digital space and we think it provides a great teachable moment for all of us. This post is not to mock them, which is why we would never name them – but to educate you moving forward.

It’s a simple mistake; you need a photo of a dog getting their teeth brushed for an upcoming dental campaign, but you don’t have any of your own. You Google “dog teeth brushing” and thousands of photos pop up, who’s going to notice if you use one of them? Well, people notice. When we launched WhiskerCloud, we bought the rights to tens of thousands of images of cats, dogs, and other animals because we never wanted to worry about getting ourselves or one of our veterinary hospitals in trouble by using a photo we could not use. In addition to this, we also have an account with Adobe Stock and iStockPhoto to make sure we’re able to find quality images to use for websites and social media accounts we manage. At the end of the day, spending $2.99 for the perfect image is much better than a large penalty from Getty or another large picture purveyor.

In both cases, our hospitals used photos from Google for blog posts on their old websites and obviously showed no malice in their use of the image. In the end, that does not matter. This is a partial look at one of the emails one of our vets received from Getty. To be fair, Getty was doing what they’re supposed to do here:

Screen Shot 2017 06 12 at 3.37.50 PM

An innocent mistake, and a $269.60 mistake at that!

So what do you do moving forward? There are a few things you can do. You can use free-use photo websites like Unsplash or Pixabay to get the photos you need, although they are more artistic than you may think. You can also join websites like Adobe Stock, and pay the few dollars to get the absolute perfect photo for your next campaign, landing page, or blog post.

At the end of the day, we just want you to know the importance of being careful about using any images or media files that you do not have the right to use. A simple Facebook post could end up costing you hundreds of dollars. More importantly, spending $2.99 for a high-quality image from a stock photo site is totally worth it, in our opinion. You could always ask us for a photo, too! If you’ve used photos in the past on your website or social media accounts that you do not have the right to use, please go remove them immediately!

If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help the veterinary industry, whether you work with us or not.