Tip #29: Sourcing Images For Your Blog

Note: pig pictures are exempt from copyright in all sane legal systems
Note: pig pictures are exempt from copyright in all sane legal systems

It is only on rare occasions that I publish a blog post without a header image, e.g. I’m in a rush or posting from my phone. You might be wondering where all these images come from. I will tell you, briefly.

The answer is not much more complex than a Google image search. Once the results page appears, I select “search tools” -> “usage rights” -> “labelled for reuse with modification”. It is a good idea to do a wide search (use a more common keyword) because free-to-use images are far fewer.

But are these free-to-use images actually free? There is no way to know for sure.

Pictures you get from Wikipedia Commons can be reused without problem. The rest will be compiled from sites where either the owner has uploaded it so that it becomes public domain, or someone else has done so without the owner’s consent.

We all know what will happen if you get caught with someone else’s image on your blog, right? Crippling fines and a life jail sentence. Or not.

If the owner does stumble across it, they can ask you to take it down. If you refuse, they can contact the host site and ask them to take it down. If they refuse, the owner goes after the internet service provider (ISP). And so on.

My advice: do your due diligence and use the “usage rights” tool. If someone asks you to take an image down because they own the copyright, no harm done. As long as you do not do something like using it as a cover for your best-selling fantasy dragon romance novel, nobody is going to end up on death row over it.

Afterword: never take legal advice from a page with a pig photo in the header.

PPS: apologies for having numbered these posts incorrectly. I’m one of those who still counts on their fingers.

Let me know in the comments if this was useful. Do you have any writing tips to share?

Previously:

My books:

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5 thoughts on “Tip #29: Sourcing Images For Your Blog

  1. Definitely useful. I didn’t know that filter was available for Google image search.

    The other issue with common use images (besides what you pointed out about them possibly not actually being common use) is that… Well, they’re in common use. Somebody else somewhere is using it for something. Something you might not want your novel / work associated with. You can do a Google search for a specific image to see where it is in use out in the world.

    In Google image search click on the “search by image” camera icon and enter the url of the image you’re interested in (or upload one). When I do this for your piggie pic I find the image on a multitude of pot-bellied pig sites and pages (wikipedia, potbelliedpigs.com, etc). Nothing unusual there but if the most recognized location for the image was something you’d rather not be associated with you’d know.

    Liked by 1 person

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