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This Blogging Mistake Can Cost You Big Money…….!

Are You Using images illegally On Your Website?

Stop sign - blogging

Image by Stannered Originals: Renesis, Silsor

Recently I was having a chat with a blogging friend of mine who told me how she had been contacted my someone online accusing her of using one of his images illegally on her website. My friend was rather perplexed and actually had no idea that she had done something wrong.

Basically, she had seen a picture on Google images and thought that it would look nice on her website. Yes, the image did look great but she did not have permission to use it. This resulted in her getting a rather hefty fine of around $570 for this one image!

The same thing also happened to someone else I know. This time, the guy in question had seen the image being used on several other websites and had also seen it on printed literature by another company in his niche. Because of this he assumed it was a free image that he could also use. This assumption cost him $985, ouch!

If you have also done this then go and take down the images straight away before it catches up with you!

So here’s what I told my two friends to do…

Where To Find Free Images Online

CC Search - creative commonsThankfully, there is a solution. There are many images that we can use online for free. These images are known as creative commons files and have a creative commons license.

The best place to go to find these kind of images is a great website called This site will search several different sources for you for the content (not just images) that you are looking for. By typing in the kind of image you are looking for in the search box, you can then select the platform you want to search and it will show you all the images that you can use for free.

When searching, you can also specify if you want an image that you are free to use commercially or even adapt and change for your own purposes. The seaarch results will then only show you those images. See the below…


Free image search - creative commons

Check The License For Each Creative Commons Image You Use

Once you’ve found a creative commons image you would like to use you also need to check the image license. This is really important. Even though the image is free for you to use, some of the images do have conditions depending on the type of license that it has. So what licenses should you look for?

There are several different kinds of creative commons licenses for images however, two good ones to look out for are:

Public Domain CC0

Public Domain CC0 licenses means that the author of the image has waved all their rights to the image and have donated it to the Creative Commons archive for anyone to use as they wish. With these kind of images you are free to do as you please with them. Here is a license for a Public Domain CC0 image if you want to have a look at one.

One website that has a lot of images with this kind of license is called Pixabay and is a fantastic resource.

Attribution 2.0 Generic

This kind of license also allows you to use the image for free but under certain conditions.
Typically, the conditions are:

  1. You must attribute the image to the author
  2. Provide a link to the license

You can usually do this in any way you choose. A quick and easy way is to put the authors name in the description box of the image and also make the image a clickable link to the license, that way everyone’s happy.

Flickr is a place where you can find many images with this kind of license.

That being said, don’t just take my word for it. I am not a copyright lawyer so please make sure you check and read the license for the image before you use it.



If you are blogging regularly then you really need to know about this if you don’t already. Many people who are new to blogging often make this mistake. No one tells you what you should and shouldn’t be doing when blogging or creating a site online and most just learn as they go along.

Where do you get your online images from?
Have you had a similar experience as my friend?
Let me know in the comments below!

SteveWest-Signature-SM - blogging


  1. 2-11-2014

    Hi Steve!

    This isn’t new to me. If one person uses an image/picture without the permission of the owner, that blogger/marketer will pay a certain amount just like what you have shared.

    Yesterday, I was reading one post too on where to find free of charge images and relieved that you are sharing a website too! Thanks and I will give it a shot! Thanks! :)

    I found this post shared on, the Internet marketing social bookmarking and networking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment
    metz recently posted…10 Laptops for Business Users under $500My Profile

    • 2-11-2014

      Hey Metz,

      Great to see you here on my blog again, thanks for commenting! :)

      Yes it is something important to be aware of, I think the person would pay for each day that it has been used on ther website, so the longer it has been there the more they would pay, but I’m not exactly sure of this.

      Best thing for people to do is to not make this mistake!

      Thank you for kingging my post on

      Best, Steve

  2. 2-11-2014

    This is one mistake most blogger make and it has landed a lot of people in trouble but now Google has made it even easier to find images you can reuse in Google Image Search.

    They have just included the Usage Rights on their image search options and you can easily filter images according to their licenses so you don’ use an image with rights in your blog.

    Thanks for sharing, i found this article on and also left a comment.
    Nwosu Desmond recently posted…Find images to reuse on Google Image SearchMy Profile

    • 2-11-2014

      Hi Nwosu,

      Yes that’s right, by going to the settings icon on Google images you can adjust your search to find only images that we are allowed to use for different reasons.

      The reason I lie so much is that it provides Google images as just one of their search options while also showing you 12 other places to find creative commons material too! :)

      Great to see you her on my blog Nwosu, thank you for commenting.

      Have a great day, Steve

  3. 2-11-2014

    Failure to acknowledge the creator or source of shared images online is one major factor or mistakes that puts most blogger into “trouble”. Its important that the lessons of this post are taken to heart.

    They invariably reveal common mistakes made with image sharing and how to avoid them. I guess its best to checkout what the Creative Commons website has to offer for image seekers and users!

    I have shared this comment in the content syndication and social bookmarking and networking website for Internet marketers – where this post was found.

    Sunday – contributor

    • 2-15-2014

      Hi Sunday,

      Yes you are right, this post should definitely be taken seriously!

      It’s a great idea for any blogger to become familiar with creative commons and understand their usage rights if they want stress-free blogging! :)

      Thanks for sharing my post!

      Have a great day mate

  4. 2-15-2014


    This is indeed a serious topic which is not looked upon by most of the bloggers. I myself do this mistake.

    But how will google punish us ? By fine ? :O Strange.

    And can we use the image by naming the real owner in the caption or so ??

    Iftekhar Ahmed recently posted…Complete Guide To Make Money With Event Based Niche BlogsMy Profile

    • 2-15-2014

      Hey Iftekhar,

      Welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting! :)

      As far as I know it is not Google who punish people for this. People get fined when the owner of the images and/or the hosting company of the images who are selling them for the author discover that you are using them without permission.

      Now, I don’t really know about the details of this but someone told me that these companies have software that search online for websites using their images who have not paid for them. They then fine you on a basis of per image per day you have used it, so if it has been on your site for a long time it can really cost you quite a lot of money just for one image! I imagine these companies probably make quite a bit of money from fining people in this way!



  5. 2-16-2014


    Great point! I use my own photos or one of a few free sharing sites, and I always give credit. This little step saves you so many headaches down the road.

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…4 Steps for Dissecting and Killing Self DoubtMy Profile

    • 2-16-2014

      Hey Ryan,

      Yes I noticed on your blog many of your pictures seem to be your own. I think that’s a great way of doing it if and when possible!

      Which photo sharing sites do you use?

      Cheers, Steve

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