Finding images for your website or work projects can be hard, but don’t give in to temptation and just choose any image on google. Choosing a copyrighted image may have serious consequences.


What is a Copyrighted Image?

Any image a person takes is automatically copyrighted. There is no legal process required. As long as he can prove he has the original image, he owns the copyright. There is a lot more information in an image than just the picture, there is information stored such as the date it was taken, the camera model used, the owner of the camera, the ISO speed used upon image capture, to name just a few examples. As you can see, there is a lot more information on the image than initially perceived. This means, even if you flip the image, crop and change it to greyscale, the owner can easily prove the image was theirs.


What are the consequences to using a copyrighted image?

The consequences can be minor, such as being asked to remove the image, to quite severe, such as being taken to court over several thousand euro. There have been cases for both, so no path can be guaranteed. Then there is, of course, the embarrassment involved in owning up to copyright infringement, which if was for a work project or a clients website, can be very bad for your reputation.


Are all images Copyrighted?

No. There are places where you can find free to use images. One such place is Google, but not the standard search. You specify that you want to look for images which are free to use, and choose from a selection such as noncommercial use. There are also marketplaces where you can purchase professional images for a fee.


How to find Images I can use?

The greatest selection of high quality images are available for purchase. You will find great quality and professional images available on image marketplace websites such as Shutterstock or iStock.

To find free to use images on Google, do any normal image search. You will have a few options underneath with one of the words being ‘Tools’. Click on that and there will be another set of options, one of them being ‘Usage Rights’. Then a list will appear stating if you want to search for ‘labeled for reuse with modification’ (including commercial), ‘labeled for reuse’ (including commercial), ‘labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification’, and ‘labeled for noncommercial reuse’.

Choosing the option right for you will only display images which are free for you to use. However, I personally find that the options available on images available for commercial use are limited at best. So the other options available are websites that offer free images. There are many websites which offer these, such as Pixabay. A simple Google search for ‘websites with free to use images’ will find many more.

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