Monday

When Blogging Use Images Carefully - They May be Copyrighted and You Could be Sued

It’s funny, a couple of months ago I accidentally deleted a lot of my images in GooglePlus. Because of this accident, the images in the blog posts at Writers on the Move were deleted. The grey generic circle took their place.

At the time, I was annoyed with myself and warned everyone to be careful when deleting photos in their Google+ accounts. Using images is an effective way to make our blog posts more engaging. It’s an effective marketing tool.

Well, I recently read two SCARY articles from bloggers, one a PR company, who were sued for using copyrighted images in their blogs without permission. In both cases, it wasn’t done intentionally, but none the less they were sued for a significant amount of money and had to pay.

I don’t copy images off the internet to post on my blogs, at least not that I can remember doing. For years, I’ve used image services like, BigStock.com and buy images when needed. I also use Microsoft Word’s Clipart. And, lately, I’ve been creating my own images, like the one above. I bought a package of images and with the image creator software tool I use, I added text and background color. That's it.

While I do create images with just Microsoft Office (Word and Paint), for this image I used
The Logo Creator. It's one of the best marketing tools I have. And, any image you create using it, you can SELL!!!!

Going back to the articles I read, it was mentioned that even Pinterest could be problematic. Comments mentioned that Pinterest protects itself and if you are caught repinning an image you don’t have the copyright to, you’ll be on your own.

I haven’t read the fine print on the site, so don’t know for sure. It’d be interesting to find out though. I’m thinking of eliminating my boards that could be a problem, like my Around the World and One Day. I love the images on them, but they’re not worth possibly being sued over.

So, should this concern ordinary, run-of-the-mill bloggers?

YUP!

This isn’t just a scenario heavy-hitter sites need to worry about. It’s something anyone blogging with images needs to be concerned about, unless your 100% sure your images are safe.

I’m including the links to both articles because I think everyone should be warned about this. Ignorance of copyright laws won’t save you. Adding attribution or taking the image down won’t save you. It’s time to rethink image use before it’s too late.

You’ll learn a whole lot more from these articles:

Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog - My Story
(Read the comments also for tips on safe images)

How using Google Images can cost you $8,000

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7 comments:

Kathleen Moulton said...

Aaaahh! I did not know this. I thought attribution was all I needed.

I've got my work cut out for me. Starting with WOTM.

Thank-you so much, Karen!

Kathleen Moulton said...

Yay. I've discovered I have been using CC pics .. so far.

Karen Cioffi said...

Yeah. AAAGGHHH! This is scary stuff. We all have to be very careful!

Glad yours are CC.

Maggie Lyons said...

I've been culling the so-called free photos from Photopin.com and attributing all of them with as full a credit line as I can. I wonder if any these "free" photos are actually not in the creative commons domain? Does anyone have any negative experience with Photopin "fres" photos?

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Karen,
Goodness. I am sorry that when you deleted your images from Google Plus, these images were also wiped out of your blog posts.

Now that is 2 bummers and a half.

I hope you'll be able to insert other photos or images in their place as time goes by.

Thanks for the reminder not to use anything you do not know for sure is absolutely free.

I looked one time on Google for an image of a store front. I believe I asked for free images of a store front. Plenty of images. I noticed that this one image I liked was really well done. I checked where Google had found it. It was a real store in Maryland. I wrote and asked if I could use it. They said, "No." They paid $400 for someone to design this for them. That I defnitely couldn't use it. I'm sure other search engines to the same thing. Make certain you copy the terms of agreement for the images you use on a website. You are right. We have to be certain they are really free to use.

Some are free if you put a link to the site and tell the name of the illustrator.

Some sites say you can use them free and you don't have to give anyone credit.

Some images you must pay to use.

I too bought software that has basic images and I can add words and other things to make them fit the needs on my blog.

Celebrate your wisdom.


Karen Cioffi said...

Maggie, be careful. Make sure the site is reputable because if the image is copyrighted, giving attribution isn't going to cut it.

I haven't heard of Photopin. I use BigStock.com and buy images or I create my own.

Karen Cioffi said...

Joan, this is why you have to be so careful. You just never know if an image is okay to use unless you ask, and sometimes that's difficult to do.

It's a wise move to have a software program that helps you create your own images.