This is a topic that is all over the blogging world at the moment, take London Beauty Queen for instance, her images have recently been stolen (because yes it is theft) quite a few times by big publications. As bloggers we are the first to jump up and cry when our images are used without our permission, and rightly so – we work hard on getting images just so, spend hours bulk editing them, further time naming them for SEO purposes. For someone to then come along and take it it’s not nice and you have a right to be peed off, so why is it OK for you to do that?
Recently I have seen such an increase in bloggers using images from Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest & Google images then shoving ‘image source’ underneath it thinking this is enough to cover their back, it isn’t. Newer bloggers can be forgiven in some way, as they are not to know, but I have seen very experienced bloggers doing this, bloggers who should know better. There are sites out there with stock images, and also ones with creative commons licenses. As with everything in the blogging world it’s better to research every aspect and not be caught on the back foot.
A creative commons license means the creator of the image is giving you permission to use/share/build upon their work, and some of these you don’t even need to credit back to the creator – but always check. Find out more here. If you are using images that are copy-righted and you don’t have express permission from the creator you could find yourself with a very large legal bill. For example, if you took my image I can bill you £5000 if I so want to, it’s my work and I can pluck a figure out of thin air for it, and people do, there have been numerous cases where bloggers have been taken to court or invoiced for stolen images. If you’re using Flickr to search images there is a part below the image on the right hand side which states what type of license the image has, if you click here it goes into a lot of detail regarding what you can and cannot do with the image.
Just because you credit the creator does not mean you can use/edit/share it. My rule of thumb is always if in doubt do not use it, it could cause you more problems than it’s worth in the long run. Not only that but using other peoples images damages your own blog in terms of image search rankings. The legal ins and outs of most subjects relating to blogging are never 100% clear, but for image rights they are; if you didn’t make it and you don’t have permission to use it, then you are liable for legal action or a hefty bill.
I hope this doesn’t come across as a mean post, but after reading some blogs today that have been around years, yet they were still using stolen images I got annoyed. Not knowing the law is no excuse, and wouldn’t stand up in court. As someone who has had my images end up on another site it’s not nice. I hope the links and lamens terms of it helped, feel free to ask questions and I can try answer them.
UPDATE – A few people have asked me about using images from online retailers for wishlists. I cannot find anything in relation to this specifically or notices on the retailers sites, but I did find the following on most sites:
You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use any content on our site in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use.
I am not a legal eagle, but the consensus online seems to be a blog wishlist is personal until such a time as you are making money from the sale of the wishlist. I also found some articles which said many retailers, Apple for example, don’t mind you using their images as it’s for the commercial gain of them – raising awareness of the product & potential sales.