Are You Using images illegally On Your Website?
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
The best place to go to find these kind of images is a great website called Search.CreativeCommons.org. 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…
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:
- You must attribute the image to the author
- 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!