Q&A: Is it Safe to Use Google Images in a Blog?

This question wasn’t asked specifically to me, but appeared on reddit at /r/blogging, where I like to answer legal questions.

Question

Please tell me whether using google images in blog is safe? If not, then please tell me a source of free images.

Response

A person who creates an image has the exclusive right to use that image. That’s the copyright. A “royalty free image” means that the copyright holder is not requiring you to pay for using the image. But there may still be limitations to the use. For example, the owner might require attribution or restrict royalty free use to non-commercial uses. Thus, you still have to make sure you understand the scope of the license to use an image even if it is a “royalty free” image.

One exception to copyright is “fair use.” If you publish an image you don’t own for the purpose of providing criticism, commentary, or news as to that image, you have the right to use the image for that purpose.
Another option is to look for “public domain” images instead of “royalty free.” An image in the public domain means the owner released copyright ownership rights or they expired. These images now belong to the public. A good place to find public domain images is Flickr.com. As an example, spaceX put a bunch of space related pictures there that they designated as public domain. So you can use those without worrying about copyright infringement.

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If you would like to ask a question about trademarks, copyrights, or online business, shoot me an email (thelawofthebrand@gmail.com) or a text (702-291-1799) or schedule a meeting.

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Leland Faux
Attorney Leland Faux blogs about trademark, copyright, and online business issues at Law of the Brand. You can submit a question by email to thelawofthebrand@gmail.com.

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