Images can be worth a thousand words, just don’t let them end up costing you a thousand dollars (or more $$$) by using a licensed image illegally! Images are a powerful tool to capture attention, support a message and improve the readers' experience. It’s important to be aware of licensing and ownership when pulling images from the web for use in blogs and ads.
It’s safest to presume that any image you find online is protected unless explicitly told otherwise. If you can uncover the source of the image, you can establish if there is a license such as creative commons, or if it is public domain.
Small businesses, you are NOT immune to litigation! In the 10+ years I've helped clients manage their websites, I've had at least 5 come to me for help with a lawsuit threat they've received. Most of the time, it's a complete accident. The image was pulled from a Google image search result and used on a blog post or promoted in a Facebook ad. Each business had no idea. Some of you reading this may be nodding your heads remembering your own nightmare, receiving an email or certified letter demanding compensation for illegal use of licensed images on your website.
Even though it’s title would imply “free picture!”, a Creative Commons license doesn't necessarily mean you can use it. The license gives the owner of the image the capacity to publish to the public whilst keeping some control over how it is used. Keep reading.
Here is an example of a license on Unsplash.com, a popular image sharing website:
A quick rundown of what kind of licensed work can be used:
If you use an image that requires an attribution there is no solid rule on how to attribute. The attribution can be put underneath the image or at the end of the blog. In the attribution it is best to include:
Below is an example of attributing credit to meet image source requirements.
We made you a list! See our list of websites with free images for use on websites, blogs, and more.
For more information: https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Best_practices_for_attribution
***If creating content for a client, always err on the side of caution:
90%of consumer research starts online.