How to find free and legal pictures online
Need a quick picture for a blog post, web page or anything else? If you’re like most people, you jump into Google Images and grab a great shot from there.
Unfortunately, that puts you at huge risk of lawsuit, because, unless someone specifically grants rights to you to use a given image, every picture taken in the United States (and in most other countries) is considered to be copyrighted, and the property of the person who took that picture. (By the way, this includes pictures taken in photo studios, so that class picture of you isn’t yours – I know, something’s really wrong there, but that’s the law!)
Let me stress something here – this is serious, you really can get sued, and if the person has taken the right steps in copyrighting their picture, you could have to not only pay them a huge amount for stealing their image, you could also be charged damages, which could be serious amounts of money!
So how do you give them credit? See that line that says Attribute this work? Simply grab the code in that box, put it on the page with the image, and you’re good to go. You can see how I’ve done that in the section at the bottom of this article where I say Photo Attribution:
Just be careful to follow the rules associated with each individual image. By checking the boxes for commercial usage and modification, you’re usually safe, with Flickr only showing you pictures that you can use.
The place where this can bite you is if you, over time, separate the picture from the attribution. So, avoid creating a folder of favorite images to which you turn to grab pictures any time you need them, unless you devise some kind of system of attaching the attribution statement to each image in that folder.
That’s it, simple, easy and quick. Just make sure you’re disciplined, and you’ll find generous people happily providing great images for you to use!
Have other places you like to go to get Creative Commons images? Tell us about them in the comments section below!