So you’ve invested your time and money into creating your new website, spent some cash on AdWords to promote your goods or services, and now you’re starting to write blog posts. Hip-hip-hooray!
You’ve searched and found pictures on Google, and you stumbled across an artsy picture depicting the perfect image for your blog. Exhibit A:
You notice the image is from an artist’s website, though you decide to use it anyway… besides, what could go wrong?
You remember reading an article on intellectual property a while ago, but you figure that using someone else’s picture won’t affect you.
The reality is, you could find yourself in an expensive legal battle over using an image that you do not own. And worse yet, your website you’ve invested so much time in could be taken down because of it. You don’t want that hassle, trust us. Especially when you’ve worked so hard to build your online presence.
There are certain licenses that protect people’s work and it’s important to credit every piece of work that you use. It can be a form of plagiarism to be using an idea that you didn’t create.
Google Images includes a ‘Usage rights’ tool which lets you filter the search results to display pictures which are available to be reused, although relying on this tool alone may not be enough.
Images and links can be incorrectly labeled, so even if you have filtered the Google results to display only images ‘Labeled for reuse’, you can still find yourself in trouble.
You need to seek images which have been approved under the attribution license and then include the author’s name and title of the work, plus a link to the original work.
One way to use quality images without a legal battle or the threat of your website being shut down is to sign up to a stock image website such as Shutterstock. These services provide millions of pictures that are labeled for royalty-free use.There is also an extensive list of trusted websites here.
Note: Before using an image from the websites listed above, always make sure the image is not downloaded in the highest dpi quality. The reason we warn you of this is to ensure the image doesn’t take too long to load and therefore slow down your blog or website for users. You don’t want a bad UX experience as this can affect your search results and online presence. Plus, large file sizes on your website take up unnecessary storage.