The Basic Rules for Using Other People’s Images In Blogs

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Imagery is important for your blog. It gives your blog life and acts as bait to lure your reader into checking out your article. Although you can’t just use any old image from the internet. There are laws and rules for using other people’s images. In college and high school, you may have gotten away with copying pasting images from Google for projects, but those are the kind of actions that can get your website in trouble. If you get caught using the wrong image, you can find yourself in a lawsuit. This type of violation is known as copyright infringement. Here’s how to scope out the acceptable images for your blog:

 

Public Domain Images

Public domain images are uploaded to the internet for everyone to use in any way they choose. Popular public domain image databases include Wikimedia Commons and morgueFile. Most images don’t require any kind of attribution, but read the fine print for every image to be safe.

 

Keep in mind, these images may not be high quality and it can take some time to find the right visual for your blog. Think of it as a garage sale, you really have to rummage through the junk to find the perfect image. You get what you pay for – in this case – you aren’t paying for anything.

 

Creative Commons Licenses

Websites like, Flickr, allow account users to upload and share their photos with the internet. Although, these uploads are protected in various ways. The license attached to each photograph restricts its use by image seekers. These licenses vary from: Attribution, Attribution-NoDerivs, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs, and Attribution-NonCommercial, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, and Attribution-ShareAlike.

 

These licenses all have different restrictions, but the safest one to use for your blog is the Attribution License. The Attribution License allows users to utilize their image in any way, as long as they give credit to the owner. This credit can be given in different ways, such as mentioning the owner’s name and linking back to the original image on Flickr.

 

Stock Photography

Stock photography provides you with high quality photos, but these images come with a price. There are websites like Stock.XCHNG with free stock photography and fine print restrictions on behalf of the image owner – but again – you get what you pay for, and this may require you to put some effort into searching for a higher quality image.

 

There are stock photography websites like iStock that offer images for as low as $1. You don’t need very large images for your blog, so you can always buy the smallest size image. iStock even offers a small selection of free stock photos. Other low priced stock photography can be found at Photodune.

 

Don’t be afraid to get visual. The rules for using other people’s photos is extensive, but if you read up on your rules, you should have nothing to worry about.

 

What if Someone Took Your Image?

So you’ve written a great post and added your own custom graphics or photography, that’s great! But you find out someone else is using your work! Don’t despair, you can always reach out the other blogger (as long as they aren’t claiming your work as their own) and ask for attribution in the form of a link back to your site. Remember, links help you rank better and when you rank better, your audience can grow.

 

What if you don’t know if someone took your graphics or photos? You can always use tineye.com as a a reverse image search engine. When Tineye finds your image, they’ll tell you the URLs where they can be found. You can then ask that the other bloggers remove your work, or again, ask for a link!

 

Call us today about any questions you may have about your website and blog at 518-472-0060.

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