Sourcing visual content for your website, social media channels and visitor guides can be a challenging task. Of course, you need high-quality, on-brand images. But you also need permission from the creator to utilize them in your marketing efforts. 

Every image - whether you find it on Google, social media or on a stock photo site - receives a copyright as soon as it’s created. It’s up to you to know whether or not you have the legal right to use it.

To avoid any potential copyright issues, here are some simple best practices to keep in mind: 

  1. Ask permission. First and foremost, it’s best practice to ask permission to utilize someone else’s content, whether it’s an image from a professional photographer or an Instagram post from a visitor. Social media aggregator platforms like Crowdriff make it easy for users to request rights to UGC images in bulk, giving you the ability to secure the rights to dozens of images per hour. 
  2. Build relationships with professional and amateur photographers in your area. Reach out to local creators and discuss with them the benefits of sharing their work on a DMO site. Many tools, Crowdriff included, have photo upload features that allow you to gain image files from photographers along with the explicit agreement to terms and conditions of resharing. 
  3. Leverage a Digital Asset Manager (such as Simpleview DAM) to organize your collection of rights-approved images. Once a creator has granted you permission to use their content, add a “Rights Approved” tag to the photo or video. This will make it easier for everyone on your team to quickly identify which content is available for use. 
  4. When in doubt, get the rights. Free embedding has been around for public Instagram photos since the beginning of the platform. However, some grey area has developed around whether it is appropriate to embed photos without asking. More often than not, visitors and residents who snap a shot with their phone are thrilled when their photo is shared on a website. Professional photographers may not feel the same way. At the end of the day, gaining permissions for visual assets will always be the most surefire and safe method for avoiding copyright infringement. 


Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash