Using images for promoting events: Do you have copyright permission?

There are over 2000 local arts and cultural events promoted in our region every year. Great images are so vital in promoting events on Facebook, Instagram, websites and posters etc.  BUT it’s very important that the images used to promote these events are not infringing someone’s copyright.

We know of small organisations or businesses that have been fined for using images they grabbed from the internet that they didn’t have permission to use. These fines can also apply to other organisations (like Arts OutWest or local tourism offices) who then re-share this content.

This isn’t to scare you – we just don’t want you getting stung for copyright infringement.

Image credit: Shipping container art work at Cowra Regional Gallery by Sydney artists “Ears” (Daniel O’Toole) and “The Dirt” (Jamie Priesz) undertaken in 2014. Photo by Zenio Lapka (used with permission).

The basics:

  • You can’t simply use a photo or image because it was online.
  • Images online remain the property of the person who created them unless they give you permission to use them or they have chosen to make them ‘creative commons’ or ‘public domain’.
  • If you use copyrighted images without permission, you are violating copyright law and the owner of the image can take legal action against you, even if you remove the image.

Finding suitable images for your website and blog isn’t as simple as typing words into Google Image Search and saving the pictures you like…. Most of the time, these images are someone else’s property and covered by the same copyright laws as the rest of their content. –

We suggest:

  • Use original photos – ones you took.
  • If you do regular or multiple events then take a selection of photos to use as your own stock images.
  • If don’t have an original photo look for ‘copyright free images’ such as Creative commons, Shutterstock or istockphoto or pexels or similar or create graphics on a free site like Some of these images will be free, others you can use for a small fee. Some may have requirements such as always naming the source of the image when you use it.
  • Even when you do have permission to use an image ALWAYS attribute the ownership of an image when you use it online or in any other materials. In the case of artworks, this includes the name of the artist who created the work AND the photographer who took the image of the work (like we have done above). For example you might pop the image credit details at the bottom of your Facebook post or event details.

If you are sending event details to Arts OutWest to promote through our Whats On please only send us images you have permission to use.

Here’s a useful article : How to correctly and legally use images in your business blog


Arts Law have good resources on the legal side of things including when and why you might be given a ‘take down’ notice:

Australian Copyright Council information sheets: