Your blog needs images.
And free photos seem like the way to go. Right?
And maybe not.
Because the photos you choose to use on your blog or website can land you in a lot of trouble.
How? Because unless you have copyright license to the photo you’re using, you may be infringing on someone else’s rights. The photographer who took that fantastic photo that was published on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Flickr owns the exclusive rights to use that photo, and unless you have her permission to use it, you could rack up some large copyright infringement penalties. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford it.
The Nitty-Gritty of Image Copyright Law Made Simple
The Copyright Law Act guarantees you the right to the following, if you are the original creator of a work of art, writing, or music.
- the right to reproduce the copyrighted work.
- the right to prepare derivative works based upon the work.
- the right to distribute copies of the work to the public.
- the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly.
If you are not the originator of the work, those rights DON’T belong to you.
And you need express permission to use those works unless you have legitimately purchased usage rights.
What to do if you’re not a photographer
Fortunately for us all, there are a number of photographers who are okay with you using their photographs without paying for them. These wonderful people have taken amazing images and put them out there for you to grab for free.
Are you grateful yet?
The following list is not exhaustive, but has 25 sources for free photos. One caveat, though. Don’t assume that because they are on this list, they may not have changed their copyright. Double check before using a photo from one of these sources, and follow their rules. If they say “don’t alter,” then don’t.
What are your favorite sources for free photos?