Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:14

Why do I need stock Images? Google gives them away for free…

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Downloading Images from GoogleWebsites – and especially blogs look so much better when one uses creative images,  Especially as new networking sites, based 100% on imagery, like Pinterest pop up.( Also consider the surge of popularity around Infographics). Because we all know the cliché about Images speaking 1000 words, it’s a cliché for a reason – because it’s TRUE! Bloggers, publishers, and website owners of all types use images all the time to help illustrate the point of a subject, break up text on a page or just to make a website more visually appealing.

There are many places from which you can get images; an exponentially growing trend is Google Images. Almost everyone I know uses Google Images for one purpose or another – I use it all the time, I just am careful with how I use it.  Many people do not realize that Google Images is not a free stock photography service. It  may be illegal (depending on the image and use) if you perform a search and then do a “right-click-save-as”.

Google even states:

The images displayed in a Google Image Search may be protected by copyright, so we can't grant you the right to use them for any purpose other than viewing them on the web. If you'd like to use images from our image search, we suggest contacting the site's webmaster to obtain permission.

So what Images can I use?

1.Images You Created: If you took the photo or drew the artwork, you can use it on your site so long as the work you created isn’t infringing in and of itself.

2.Images you’ve licensed: You can also use images you’ve obtained a license to put on your site. This can include images from a free stock photo site, such as FreeDigitalPhotos.Net , Creative Commons-licensed images or images from commercial stock (I happen to LOVE Dreamstime.com) or microstock photo libraries.

3.Images Used Under Fair Use: Though relying on fair use is always risky, using screenshots of sites you are talking about, logos of companies mentioned in your post, etc. is usually safe.

What happens if I use Images Illegally?

Jonathan Baily over at Blogging Pro calls it a “game of roulette”. Many times the copyright holder will find out or notice that you are using his or her images illegally. This will vary on the copyright holder. Large stock photo companies, such as Getty Images, keep very close track on some of their stock images.

For Example, Getty provides a neat service where they will only license a particular image to one person/company in a given field. A company can use a particular picture in their advertisement and not have to worry about a competitor using the same images. While most stock photography is rather inexpensive, this particular licensing can be costly due to the exclusivity of the image.

Let's Just be Fair

I personally think that it is best to err on the side of caution. Consider this – every picture or graphic you see was taken or design by an artist somewhere.  When you use an image without the artists’ permission (or without compensation) you are technically stealing.  The term “starving artist” was not created on accident!

Rachel Bjerstedt

Rachel founded Marketplace Maven in 2008 after a career in advertising and media sales. Her passion is to help small business owners discover new ways to spread their “word” and create blue oceans. Rachel eats sleeps, and breathes, ideas. New perspectives on familiar challenges invigorate her. When she doesn't have her head buried in Seth Godin's latest book, you might be able to find her behind a camera or a paintbrush.

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