In web design, there are inevitably some clients who will copy content from another website (in their industry) and present it to their web designer or web design company. However, there are some serious drawbacks to doing this.
Generally, online content, including text, images, video, software, music, etc. is protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Can I Use an image I find in Google Images for my website?
No. Unless you have permission from the copyright owner or an agent thereof, you should not download any image from Google images (or anywhere else for that matter), to use within your website. You may be in for a world of headache should you do end up using an image taken from an online stock photo website such as istockphoto.com There have been many incidents described online where Getty Images, parent company of istockphoto.com, has sent out letters notifying people of copyright infringements and asking for settlements from hundreds if not thousands of dollars, in order to avoid legal trouble. Some call it extortion, but in the end, Getty usually has the copyright infringer dead to rights. Stating that they didn’t know they were infringing on copyright law is no excuse and no legal defense. Getty images uses image search and recognition software to find instances of stock photo image copyright infringement.
SEO Considerations of Duplicate Content
In Google, original, authoritative content is king. So, copying content and pasting into your own website is a huge no-no if you are looking to rank well in Google’s organic search results.
Have you ever noticed in Google search results that you will sometimes see:
In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the one already displayed….
That’s because Google will not give priority in its search results to duplicated content, rather, those results will relegated to the dreaded “omitted entries”.
The Bottom Line When it Comes To Copying Website Content
Ultimately, if you want to avoid the potential legal consequences and reducing your chances of ranking better in Google, it is best to never copy content from other websites to use in your own website. Make the investment in time and/or money, to create unique, authoritative website content.