DO NOT ASSUME THAT AN IMAGE IS FREE. Contact the copyright owner, LICENSE the image, and obey the terms and conditions of the license.
Photographs and other images are protected under the laws of copyright, and the creators as copyright owners have absolute rights to control the use of their photographs. Infringers are those that violate the owners rights and can be subject to fines, destruction of the infringing work and in some cases criminal penalties and imprisonment.
With the access to so many images, via not only traditional print media, electronic media and the Internet, together with the ease of copying images, manipulating and combining them with others, the rights of the copyright owners of these images are either forgotten in the excitement of the new technology and rush of deadlines, unknown due to ignorance or just ripped off because the chances of being caught are considered to be too remote.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse when it comes to copyright. The costs of defending an infringement action are expensive, and the settlements or awards high. Not knowing the law can be costly.
Protect yourself, your job and your client from infringing the copyright of an image owner. DO NOT ASSUME THAT AN IMAGE IS FREE. Contact the copyright owner, LICENSE the image, and obey the terms and conditions of the license.