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photos pegged on a line

Can you use someone else’s photographs?

6th December 2018 by Sam Freeman

Categories: What's New?
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If you’ve been preparing for a presentation and needed some visual prompts to add a little humour to an otherwise dry topic (as a solicitor that advises on data protection law and anti-bribery law this is a common situation for me) it’s often tempting to simply scroll the internet for some suitable photographs. There should be no harm in using one or two photographs, right, especially if it’s already on the internet? The truth is that this could well be a breach of copyright law, as a recent case highlights.

In this instance a student downloaded a photograph from a travel website and included it in their school presentation. The presentation was in turn uploaded onto the school’s website. When the photographer discovered what had taken place, they successfully managed to claim that this was a breach of copyright, and that the photographer had only granted a licence for the photograph to be used on the travel website.

We should add that placing a hyperlink to someone else’s website is not an infringement as the copyright holder retains control of the photograph. If you want to actually show the photograph or image however, then make sure that the copyright owner has waived any rights they may have before using it yourself. Or create your own photograph or image.

If you have any questions regarding copyright protection then please contact Sam Freeman on 01202 557256 or at

Sam Freeman

Partner — Corporate and Commercial

Direct dial: 01202 377878


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Sam Freeman is head of our Corporate and Commercial team and is a vastly experienced corporate lawyer having advised a wide variety of businesses within a range of sectors.

Sam’s particular specialisms include share and assets acquisitions and disposals, company restructures, shareholder agreements and partnerships. Sam enjoys helping people succeed in business regardless of whether the client is a small local set up or a large national organisation. Whatever the concern, Sam provides a calm personable approach to his work ensuring clients are guided in a practical straightforward manner.

Away from work Sam enjoys spending time with his family and this years new edition, Merlin the Great Dane, and anything sport related, especially playing golf.

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