The Law Every Blogger Must Know About Using Photographs

The Law Every Blogger Must Know About Using Photographs

So, I assumed that everyone knew that simply copying and pasting a photo that they find on the internet to their blog was problematic.  That apparently isn’t the case.  Bloggers use images on their blogs all the time without thinking about where they came from. Believe it or not there are laws in place to protect the producers of images from having their images used without their consent.  What are those laws and what should every blogger know when it comes to posting third party images to their blog?

You can’t Just Use Photos From Google

The law is clear that you cannot just take a photo from Google or some other search engine and plop it onto your site.  These works are copyrighted and belong to the photographer.  What is a copyright?  It is the law that gives the creator exclusive rights to use and reproduce their works.  This law is essentially worldwide in today’s reality.  As I discussed in a previous post about the law Copyright is automatic.  There is nothing the photographer has to do in order to obtain it.

Licenses to use Photos

In order for you to lawfully use an image on your blog you must have a license to do so or the photo must be in the public domain.  Just because it is on Google does not mean that it is in the public domain.  The term Public Domain is a term of art and means that a photo is no longer covered by a copyright.

There are a number of ways to get a license to use a photo.  You can get it directly from the photographer, the photographer can provide a license with the work or on his or her website, it can come with a stock photo service or it can fall under the Creative Commons License. You can always check a website to see if the photos have a limited license for use in a non commercial  setting that may include a blog or other website.  Many bloggers allow for one or two photos from a blog to be used in other people’s work so long as there is a link and attribution.  Check the blogger’s terms of use or reach out to the blogger for permission.  Most bloggers are more than willing to have their photos used so long as there is a link back and attribution.  Creative Commons licenses are a little more complicated.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons provides a way for photographers to share their work without giving up their copyright protections.  If you are using a photo under Creative Commons you must give proper attribution and you must follow the terms of the license.  There are 6 different types of Creative Common Licenses that you should be aware of.

  • Attribution only
    • You must give appropriate credit and indicate if changes were made
    • Appropriate Credit means (a) the name of the creator and attribution parties, (b) a copyright notice, (c) a license notice, (d) a disclaimer notice, and (e) a link to the material.
  • Attribution, Share Alike
    • You must give appropriate credit
    • The license goes with it when it is posted so that others can re-post it.
  • Attribution, No Derivatives
    • Must give appropriate credit
    • Cannot change the work in any way
  • Attribution, Non-Commercial
    • Must give appropriate credit
    • You can change the image for a non-commercial way
    • You are sharing the new work in a non-commercial way
    • You are licensing the new work
  • Attribution, Non-Commercial, and Share Alike
    • Must give appropriate credit
    • You can change the image for a non-commercial way
    • You are sharing the new work in a non-commercial way
    • You are licensing the new work in the same way as the original
  • Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives
    • Must give appropriate credit
    • Cannot change the image in any way
    • Can share it in a non-commercial way

Conclusion

Use your own photography whenever possible.  If you are using images from the internet make sure that you understand what license goes along with them and follow that license.  Get permission to use the work either from the photographer, through a stock photo site or through Creative Commons with attribution as discussed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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