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Jakob Nielsen in "Eyetracking Web Usability," recommends against placing text on top of images or textured background in advertisements because only 35% of people will look at it.

Is there any other research addressing how text on images or patterned background affects the usability or readability of that text or site?

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    If text is built into an image (not layered on top), it's makes internationalization very difficult.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 17:52

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It depends on the context of the copy. Offers, information about a product, or really anything longer than a few words is going to be difficult to digest on an image. These types of content need to be easily scanned for keywords by the users eye as they move through the page without distraction.

Things like headlines, adverts, taglines etc... can be placed over imagery (with enough contrast) as the user will likely be focusing on this area long enough to consume what's written.

Hope this helps!

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