Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blogging and Copyright Issues

Photo by FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If you are a blogger who uses photographs in your posts, you need to be aware that the photos you use may be copyrighted. Let me tell you...if you aren't careful, you can face legal action.

I was one of those stupid ones who would google my blog topic, then choose a photo from Google Images. Yeah, that's not a good idea. I had used a photo that belonged to an artist who did not appreciate me using it. I was told to remove it or face legal action in three days. I removed it from the blog post, but it kept showing up in Google Image searches. I was told it was my responsibility to have it removed...or else. It took hours of research to figure out how to remove an image from searches, but I did it, and haven't heard any more from the artist. 

I promptly deleted ALL photos from my posts that were not my own; so if you are going back through my backlist of posts to learn from all my "wisdom", you will find lots of those white squares with the little red X's in them. I want to be legal. I want to respect the artist. I want to do what's right. 

During my scary "experience", I emailed back and forth with my Alley Cats, and Mary sent us her list of  links to sites that have copyright-free photos to use. So with her permission, I am sharing her list, along with some other sites that readers from my personal blog sent me. 

Free Stock Photos:  FreeStockPhotos.com 
Stock Xchng: http://sxc.hu/
Wikimedia Commons:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
Flikr Pingnews Commons:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/pingnews/collections/72157600007938726/
Morgue File:  http://www.morguefile.com./
Free Digital Photos:  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Visual Bible Alive:  www.visualbiblealive.com/
Christian Image Source:  http://christianimagesource.com
Dreamstime:  http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos

Here are a couple of sites that have a great list of photo sites:

http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2007/11/there-are-many.html
http://www.authormedia.com/2009/07/11/where-to-find-free-legal-photos-online/

Please note that even though these sites have photographs that you can use, some may require an attribution. That means you may have to either link back to the site, or put the name of the author/artist with the photo.

So you bloggers out there, go out and be not afraid. Just be careful.

Do you have a favorite site for gathering photos for your blog posts? Please share!

26 comments:

Julia M. Reffner said...

Sherrinda,

This was very enlightening to me as well and I'm now on the alert. Thanks, that is a good list of sites and I will be sure to bookmark them. I'm sorry you had to go through this, Sherrinda. Hoping it will prevent someone else from having to face issues.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Thanks for this list, Sherrinda! I'm one who tries to always attribute the pic because I want to cover all my bases, and I want to give the photographer credit. Most often I use Flickr Commons because it was the first place I started getting pics from when back whenever I needed to use them :)

Joanne Sher said...

I use sxc almost exclusively - but that just may change! Thanks, a LOT, for this post!

Susan Francino said...

THANK YOU for sharing this. I had heard several different things about using photos and wasn't quite sure... I always link back to the source, but now I will use these websites. Thanks again.

Lindsay Harrel said...

Thank you so much for the list of places! I usually use freedigitalphotos.net, but whenever there isn't something usable there...well, I wasn't sure what to do! So thanks!

Sherrinda said...

Awwww, you ladies are already doing the right thing! I love that! And I'm a bit embarrassed by my own stupidity!!!

Jacqueline Howett said...

Yeah you have to becareful out there, but it's always a nice thing to do anyways, to place the copyright name of the person who created the image up on your blog etc.

Sometimes just to e-mail the artist to make sure might be a good idea, that way you have the okay in writing.

I don't normally use other peoples photos for this reason. But if I do, I'll check out your list. Thanks.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Wow. I did not know this! Thanks for sharing this info.

I will check out the sites you listed and try to stay 'legal' from now on!

Thanks, Sherrinda.

Cheers,
Sue

Karlene Jacobsen said...

Wow, thanks for this. I had no idea that google images was potentially copyrighted. Should've guessed, though. :( Anyway, I'll be correcting my errors.

Nancy Kimball said...

Sherrinda, this is a good post. My brother is a professional photographer so I knew this when I started blogging, thankfully.
Dreamstime is my favorite and a great site for freebies and if you buy credits in blocks of 25 ($25) there are great images for a dollar or two, which is what I do.
Of course the hotties on my blog header collectively were pretty expensive, LOL, but I paid it so I wouldn't have issues.
I confess that being an author has helped my appreciation of the rights of others to their work.
I'm sure this post will help many who may have infringed on that of others in ignorance.

Anonymous said...

This was very helpful! I've been close to running into this trouble before. How exactly did you delete your pictures from all searches?

Sherrinda said...

Anonymous,

Here are two links that go to the pages that give a detailed explanation on what to do. I did both of these things to make sure the image cache was gone for good.

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156449

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1663419

Hope this helps.

beckydoughty said...

Sherrinda,

Thanks for this post - it's one of those things that you don't really think about until it's either too late for you... or it's too late for someone else and they tell you. Thanks for telling us.

And for the great sites for pics AND the links to what to do...

Jodi Janz said...

thanks Sherrinda,
An you were not alone. I've done the same thing but hadn't got caught I guess. I appreciate the links so I can do the right thing from now on.

~Heather said...

Awesome post! I have been using Stock.xchng, but I'll book mark the rest of these as well to liven up my options. :)

Mary B said...

I try to use my own photos exclusively, however, on occasion I used Flicker, advanced search and check creative commons box. Here is a link that explains creative commons photos may be use you just have to give the proper credit.
http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

Great post!

Casey said...

Great source of links, one I'll be using, thank you!!!

Nikki Barnabee/@GargoylePhan said...

Very helpful! Thanks for the advice, and for sharing your list of free images. I've always used my own photos, but for most posts, they're not relevant, since they're all of, well, cats. ;-D

Jazmine~ said...

I don't get it. How did the artist expect you to remove all the pictures from google search? Or was that not what you were saying?

SchoolPhotoProject said...

Dear Sherrinda, thank you for this interesting posting. We'd like to mention about http://www.SchoolPhotoProject.com. We are a totally free stock photo site that make good quality photos available for students and public in general -- we'd love to have bloggers using our photos with a small credit in return. No need to open an account or login to access and download our HD photo files – which are as big as 4000 pixels in size. New free photos are uploaded daily. Thank you!

Jake Ho said...

Dear Sherrinda, thank you for this interesting posting. We'd like to mention about http://www.SchoolPhotoProject.com. We are a totally free stock photo site that make good quality photos available for students and public in general -- we'd love to have bloggers using our photos with a small credit in return. No need to open an account or login to access and download our HD photo files – which are as big as 4000 pixels in size. New free photos are uploaded daily. Thank you!

Sherrinda said...

Thanks for the link to School Photo Project!

Jake Ho said...

You're very welcome. Hope you'd find it useful.

Jake Ho said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachelle said...

Thank you for this!

Sherrinda said...

Glad you found it helpful, Rachelle.