By Gary James, Envision Networks Affiliate Relations Manager

Well, I’m not a lawyer and I never played one on TV, but I do know the threat of a lawsuit over unlicensed photos is real.  Every week, I read another story about another radio station being sued over a photo on a station web site.

Using a photo on your website can be costly when you consider the man hours it takes to research and defend a claim. The legal fees, filing fees, lost time and damages quickly add up, especially when the owner of a copyrighted image doesn’t have to prove actual damages. Courts can award statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement.

Station owners are being taken to court when employees pull images from online search engines, social media accounts, blogs and web sites or posts found in social media or another station’s web site.

Avoid the headache of defending yourself and your station. It’s easy! Be proactive in locating images that can be easily licensed for online use.

Here are a few ways to better protect yourself: 

    • Hire your own photographer and only use images that you or your employees’ take.
    • Use a public domain like Creative Commons as the most cost-effective option for use of licensed images in your social media and web sites. You have to be careful though to make sure that what you choose is royalty-free.
    • com is a great resource for locating exclusive images of artists, in concert, that are only licensed to radio stations. Shuttermonky provides you with photos that are royalty-free, and you can use them in any digital media (station sites, blogs, social media, newsletters and eBlasts).


Learn more about ShutterMonky and your other production options by calling 216.831.3761 or


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