I guess we could say it’s common knowledge that we should not use someone’s work without their consent. However, what are the rules for using images found on the internet? If someone puts an image on the internet and I find it through a search engine, doesn’t it mean it’s okay to use it? Doesn’t it mean the author is already allowing you to use the image if it’s online for all to see?
No. It’s not okay to share or alter any images on the internet unless you have permission for it. You have to either use images that were approved by their creators for sharing (or altering, if that’s what you’re looking for) or pay to use the image. Nice, huh?
Anyway, I’ve been reading about it since yesterday and I’ve collected a bunch of info. Basically if you use the Creative Commons Search you’re safe. You type what you’re looking for in the search box, check the boxes for commercial purposes and/or modify them (if necessary) and choose which library or search engine you’d like to get your image from. I’ve been using Flickr and Google Images to find options for my past posts (yep, I’ve been updating them since yesterday, trying to change them all to licensed images).
If you want to understand a little more about how this all works, you should read Meghan Ward’s Where to Get Photos For Your Blog. Ward teaches blogging and social media classes at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Another good post on the subject is Susan Gunelius’s How to Find and Source Images for Your Blog. Gunelius also gives you a list of other places where you can get your images.
And remember: you should always give credit to the creator of the image. Always.
[Image credit: Marta St▲rbucks]