It appears to be a common misconception that grabbing content from the Internet, whether it be photos, clips or written content, and using it on your website or social media pages is acceptable. The only time it is acceptable is when the content that is taken is in the public domain, i.e., it is not protected by copyright laws. Otherwise, taking content that does not belong to you and using it is copyright infringement.
The problem often arises when businesses hire independent contractors or freelancers to create content for them and the business is unaware of the source of the content. I have had many clients receive “cease and desist” letters from copyright owners or their attorneys demanding that the business cease and desist from using the content and demanding money for the use of the content. You do not want to find yourself in this position. You will ultimately be responsible for the acts of the freelancer. There are web-based robots, troll firms and copyright clearing houses that search the web and they will find you. To be liable for infringement and damages to the copyright owner, you do not need to make money from the use or use it for a long period of time. The law provides that the copyright owner is entitled to statutory damages by reason of the infringement.
Of course, original content is always best, but, if you want to use photos, film clips, animations, etc., from the Internet and avoid getting a cease-and-desist letter and potential liability, make sure that you educate anyone you hire to create content not to take the content from the Internet without a license agreement, permission or paying a fee to do so.