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Photo Usage on Website – Is Permission Needed?

Question: May I use a photo on my website without express written permission from the photographer? I emailed a request, but have not heard back.

Answer: If you did not receive express written permission from the rights holder, you do not have permission, and using it is infringement. The photographer’s lack of response to your request may simply mean he or she did not receive the email. If you want to use the photo without fear of violating the law, keep trying to reach the photographer.

Anyone with a question about a legal matter can talk to a lawyer at no cost on the Illinois State Bar Association’s 33rd Annual Ask-a-Lawyer Day on Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact options include two toll-free numbers, Skype and email. For details, visit

For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to

Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit