It is tempting to save a buck by stealing an image you find off Google – we’ve all done it – but doing so can have serious consequences.

In the KopyKat File below we humorously illustrated that Myows can come and bite back copyright perpetrators who have not read the copyright basics.

The scenario can get worse. Let’s imagine you have a side business and decide to grab an image off Google to create a quick logo. You add some text to the image and modify it slightly. You even upload it to Myows to claim copyright on your creation. (This goes against our Terms but we don’t physically check what you claim and the onus is on you to only upload files that fully belong to you)

Some time later, you receive a notice that you are infringing on someone else’s copyright (TRUE STORY). What do you do then?

In all honesty, you shouldn’t have lifted an image that doesn’t belong to you, and your copyright claim is null and void as you never had the right to use an image simply because Google has indexed it. You should apologize profusely and learn from your mistake. Don’t pull a Shepard Fairey who got sentenced to $25 000 fine and 2 years probation for creating the Obama Hope Poster!

Shepard Fairey

With tools like tineye, it will become increasingly easy for people to find out how and where their images are being used, and by being lazy you could expose yourself to various degrees of legal trouble.

A nice Google Font can create very awesome typographic logos that will work great for cash-strapped businesses – You can always add a mark later when you can afford to hire a designer.

So please play it safe and Don’t steal images off Google!