Using other people’s logos & images – What am I allowed to do?

The Internet offers a wide range of images, logos, quotes, texts and much more. These are usually even freely findable via the search engine and just invite you to use them for your own purposes.

Here, however, you need to pay attention. This does not mean that you are free to use them for your own purposes. This is where copyright comes into play. In addition to the legal regulation of substantive law, there are also regulations in Austria regarding intangible law, which apply to films, music, graphic design and software.

So, if you are planning to have a t-shirt printed or something similar, it is advisable to look into the legal regulations. Basically, all works, whether images, logos or graphics, are under copyright and therefore may not be used by third parties for their own purposes without further ado. Only the author has the right to reproduce, modify or distribute his work on the Internet or elsewhere. However, there is the possibility to obtain the rights for it by applying to the author for the rights of use or the license right, usually for a fee. So before you print a T-shirt, check the usage information and get the appropriate license right. It is different again if you intend to modify and then use works of other authors. Again, this is not something you can do lightly. Any work by an author may be reproduced only in its original form, unless you own the editing rights. You must also request this from the originator. If you don’t feel like such a process, royalty-free images are an alternative. You can get these free of charge on the Internet on appropriate pages and can be used for both commercial and private purposes. The right to edit is also not a problem in this case. You can change royalty-free images as you wish.

Consequences of copyright infringement

If you do not comply with the legal regulations and, for example, print on a T-shirt without obtaining the license right, you will be threatened with a substantial usage fee and possibly even a claim for damages from the copyright holder. Whether or not you were aware of your misconduct at the time you used the work, the copyright owner may demand removal of the unlawfully used content and payment of a royalty. So whether your violation was due to negligence or intent is irrelevant. The amount of the user fee varies depending on the case and the scope, content and duration of the publication.

If it should be proven to you that you should have recognized the illegal use, the author can make use of his claim for damages. In this case, it is possible that the injured party may demand an additional amount as compensation for damages. In addition, of course, the legal fees follow. Finally, if you are accused of copyright infringement by an author’s lawyer, do not remain inactive, but deal with the warning letter as soon as possible. Otherwise, a lawsuit could follow. The following costs of a court hearing are additionally high in this case.

The right way

In order to save unnecessary lawyer’s fees, compensation for damages, warning fees and possibly fees for appointed experts, it is recommended to always apply for the license right or the editing right. For this purpose, there are various online platforms through which you can acquire the image rights – some images are even free of charge. Our tip:

Or you can use the graphics service of ebets – this will make the first correct step and you will receive your individual design with all rights.

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