Originally Posted by HostaPolis
Someone once told me that if you use someone else's image on your site that is on their own, they have the right to take action by asking you to remove it or even sue you over it. Not sure how far you get on that without copyrights. I would imagine if it was that easy, places that make memes and other gag images online would not flourish so well.
100% true. Once an image (or content) is published online, it inherits a copyright. Actually, even writing something down on a napkin will inherit a copyright (although date of writing is harder to prove).
If you use an image that is copyrighted, the simple action is a DMCA filing. This is filed with both the web hosting company and with Google. Often times, the hosting company will remove the content, or disable the site. Failing that, Google will deindex the site for copyright violations.
Using images from movies, gifs etc, these are all copyright violations, and the TV/Movie industry go to great lengths to remove them.
The NFL is notorious for chasing after people. Normally it's just a takedown notice, but in repeat violations or excessive usage, they can take legal action.
I have prosecuted (and won) against people who have taken our Logo without consent. Now there ARE times when I have allowed the usage, such as in mutual promotion, or links etc - but technically, you should be getting image permission before usage, even when promoting someone else.