An Image speaks a thousand words but what if those words belong to someone else.
We come across many stunning landscape images on Google. If it is wallpaper worthy, we go on and download them. Then use it in our latest blog post so that it will keep our readers hanging to the post. All we need is that eye catching element to enhance our story. We can write a post about ‘How Travel can Change You‘ and then put a stunning image of a landscape in that post, the image which you just downloaded from the internet. But we forget that some photographer spent all his time and money to get that perfect shot in some remote location on this globe AND THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO SUE US FOR IMAGE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
Well, as any other novice blogger, I too was using many stunning images to make my blog attractive. Seeing my inexperience in this field, a fellow blogger (whose name I forgot) sent me this link. As soon as I read the article, I went on a cleaning spree removing all those images from my old blog posts and made my blog Lawsuit-proof. At that point, I was not having many posts to clean up, so I am glad I came across this article during my initial stages as a blogger.
Every stunning image you see in Google is the result of someone’s hard work and they have not posted it online for free. Anything that is good, comes with a price. Misuse it and you might end up paying a few thousand dollars. And the worst part about this is that you might not get sued right-away for posting that image. It may come back to haunt you a few months later or maybe after a few years, when you might have even forgot about the post. That could be a real disaster.
You may want to take a look at the Image Copyright Infringement Laws:
Current Fair Use image copyright laws say that you’re financially liable for posting copyrighted images, even if you give the below reasons in your defense:
• You did it by accident
• You immediately took down the picture after receiving a DMCA takedown notice
• The picture is resized or the watermark is cropped out (totally illegal)
• If the picture is licensed to your Web developer (Getty Images requires that you get your own license)
• You link back to the photo source and cite the photographer’s name (Which is what I used to do)
• Your site isn’t commercial and you make no money from your blogs
• You have a disclaimer on the site
• The pic is embedded instead of saved on your server
• You found it on the Internet
To be precise, you cannot use any licensed image for free without the owners permission, which is not really an option as the professional photographers will not entertain any novice bloggers.
But there are alternative measures. That is where public domain images come to our rescue. Even though you may not find the top quality images there, you can always find some good enough for your blog if you dig around a little.
As I am still new to travel blogging, I am not having many stunning images in my repository. Hence the ones I use now are from Wikimedia, Pixabay, Libreshot. and PDPics. There are many similar sites from where you can get the stock photos. Or the best option, click your own pics. And if you are still itching to use Google Images then try this. Go to Advanced Settings in Google Images and filter by the options marked at the bottom of the page.
Take a look at Roni Loren’s post where she has shared her experience with the lawsuit she had to deal with and how stressful it can get just because of one picture. Usually bloggers never share such experiences fearing that it might reduce their credibility. As a result, not everyone is familiar with the Image Copyright Infringement Laws.
Many experienced bloggers might be aware of this but there are many rookie bloggers out there who are not. If you come across any such blogs, please share this information with them.
The chances of someone suing you can be very low but it is always better to protect yourself before a lawyer comes knocking…..Internet can be unforgiving sometimes.
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