Alright, before we get into this post, I have to admit to something: the title is a little misleading. It isn’t true that you can’t use ANY image on your blog. However, you can’t use ALMOST any photo, and so I decided to err on the side of discretion and hopefully catch some interest with the more alarmist title. Normally, I wouldn’t do this. But this topic is important enough that I think it warrants the teeniest bit of sensationalism.
Lately there have been more horror stories from bloggers, Pinterest users, Tumblr owners and webmasters about copyright. They used an image without direct permission, posted it in the same way everyone does, and then preceded to get screwed by photographers or companies with good lawyers.
In fact, Kristen Kowalski, an attorney and photographer, wrote an extensive post about Pinterest specifically and the fact that users are liable on behalf of both themselves and Pinterest if they are caught in a legal battle over an image. Even if they did not originally post it, but repinned it. A concern addressed directly in a conversation with Ben Silbermann, the creator of the site.
What this shows is that the issue of copyright and the web is a sticky issue. If you post a disclaimer on your blog stating that the images you use are fair use and you aren’t claiming ownership, you can still be sued. In fact, it does nothing at all…nada, zilch, zero. You are just as liable for stealing that image, even if you did not intend to do so.
What To Do
- The first step, and this is a must, is to get rid of all pictures that belong to someone else on your blog.
- If you want to share an image, you need to link to the actual site without displaying the image on your blog.
- If you want to get around this in the future, contact the owner of the photo and ask them if you can use it with a link to their site and a copyright notice. They may or may not charge you for it.
You are probably thinking that this is a huge pain, and you would be right. But the amount of money you will have to fork out if the photo owner makes a claim it going to be substantial, and much more costly than the time it will spend to protect yourself.
Where To Get Images
But what about photos that can be used safely? They have to exist, right?
Glad you have asked!
We have created Smart Photo Stock *exactly* for you, the lost and confused blogger who need images to beautify your awesome blog posts!
We have plenty of photos that have been places online because we want them to be used (preferbaly with credit).
It is not a huge risk to use images on your site, as long as you are using Creative Commons or public domain images that are free to post. Otherwise, you are putting yourself in the way of a serious lawsuit, and the more images you have stolen from other sites the more costly that lawsuit can become.