Can I Use This Picture on My Website?

April 7, 2015

You should always be aware of the sources of the images you use when adding one or more to your website, blog, email or printed material. If you don’t pay attention or use a copyrighted image, some royalty troll (usually a lawyer) will come along and sue your pants off. They will win… because that is literally their job: troll websites and sue people. How rewarding, right?

The most common mistake for a marketing person or content developer is going up to Google Images and using any image that pops up. You might think this is okay since the image was on some small company’s website that’s located half way around the world and you didn’t take it from a stock photography website. So you’re in the clear, right? Wrong.

Many of these images were shot and manipulated by professionals who deserve to be respected/compensated for their work. The best way to ensure that you follow the rules is to use a respected stock photography website like iStock or ShutterStock. It’s worth purchasing an image than dealing with a lawsuit. There are also less well-known image outlets that have free or public domain images such Pixabay, Public Domain Pictures.net. But remember, nothing is free and these sites will (re)direct you to paid images available.

Here are some definitions that might help:

Rights Managed (RM) in photography and the stock photo industry, refers to a copyright license, which, if purchased by a user, allows the one-time use of the photo as specified by the license. If the user wants to use the photo for other uses an additional license needs to be purchased. RM licenses can be given on a non-exclusive or exclusive basis.

Royalty-free, or RF, refers to the right to use copyrighted material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or some time period of use or sales.

Public domain images are defined as images for which the copyright has expired or never existed in the first place. They are free to be used by almost anyone for personal and commercial purposes.

So, be sure about where an image is from before you make it the featured image on your blg post. Look at the agreement you are making about the use of the image, there might be restrictions. Most importantly respect the photographer. Because, some photographers have lawyers and like to use them.

 Flickr offers new public domain liscencing in wake of SpaceX photo release: READ MORE

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Nick Cusatis
Content Management Specialist & Craft Beer Enthusiast.