Many blog and website owners use images they find online unaware that they are infringing on copyright laws until the owner of the images catches up with them. The following scenarios could occur; the owner of the images could be lenient enough and ask them to pull them down. They could report them to Google for copyright infringement, and their websites could be taken down, or if the owner lives in the same country or state as them, they could file a lawsuit, and if they win, they could pay punitive fines or serve time. You don’t want one of these situations to occur to you; which is why you need to ensure that you are getting your images from the right sources. You can cushion yourself from such risks by adhering to the following precautions:
1) Desist from using free images for websites that you get directly from Google
Most new blog and website owners do this mistake. Because they don’t want to spend money initially, they head straight to Google and search for free images and use them. Not all photos labeled free are really free. Some come with royalty-free licenses that require you to pay a specific one-time fee to be able to use them. Some website owners know it’s wrong to just pick any photo online and use, so they credit the source. Unless the image description states that you can attribute it, you would be breaking the law if you did so.
2) If you’re not sure about royalty free images or any image, ask for permissions
You may not have an idea of the importance of the kind of license the image you want to use. That’s why it’s a good idea to contact the photographer or website by sending them an email to ask for permissions. If they allow you to use it, save the conversation so that when an issue manifests in future, you have something to back you up.
3) The safest way to use free images for websites is to create your photos
With the proliferation of Smartphones and digital cameras, it’s effortless to make your high-resolution photos to use on your blog or website. These Smartphones and digital cameras have superior editing functionality that allows you to fine-tune your images. Making your images is the surefire way to insulate yourself and your site from copyright issues.
4) Source your royalty free images from renowned photography websites
Today, the internet is filled with stock photography websites that you can source free, high-quality images for your blog, website or other uses. However, be very careful when choosing these websites. Some are not trusted because they list unoriginal photos, and any attempt to use them might land you in big trouble. Source free photos from reputable free stock images websites, such as Shutterstock, Pixabay, and iStock. You can also subscribe to the premium photos on Shutter stock for a small fee and get high-resolution photos if you don’t want the free options.
5) Be very careful when downloading free images for websites from Flickr
The problem with Flick is that images are uploaded under the creative commons zero licenses, so the owners can change requirements and permissions anytime. It does not matter if the image was under the creative commons license when you downloaded it. Be very careful when you use images under the creative commons license. Make sure you read their updated licensing requirements to the end before you use the images to avoid breaking copyright laws unknowingly.
To be sure that the images you are taking are free, here are some of the companies where you can download images for free: https://burst.shopify.com/