Happy New Year Loves!
Today's topic is one that every blogger should pay close attention to. If you're relatively inexperienced at blogging (and in some cases, very experienced) odds are you may not be aware that randomly grabbing images from google and using them on your site is illegal. That's right, taking a photo, even when giving credit to the owner in the form of a link or attribution, and using it on your site is considered theft.
If you didn't know, don't worry, it happens A LOT. If you get caught, sometimes it can be reasonably hashed out by adding a link back to the owners site, other times however, it can come with a hefty price tag.
Don't believe me, in their own words, these bloggers talk about the cost of using unauthorized images on their blogs:
"Like most of you, I'm a casual blogger and learned my way into blogging by watching others. And one of the things I learned early on was that a post with a photo always looked nicer than one with just text. So I looked at what other people were doing for pictures.
...On one random post, I grabbed one random picture off of Google and then a few weeks later I got contacted by the photographer who owned that photo. He sent me a takedown notice, which I responded to immediately because I felt awful that I had unknowingly used a copyrighted pic. The pic was down within minutes. But that wasn't going to cut it. He wanted compensation for the pic. A significant chunk of money that I couldn't afford. I'm not going to go into the details but know that it was a lot of stress, lawyers had to get involved, and I had to pay money that I didn't have for a use of a photo I didn't need...."
Read more of Randi's story here
Q: What’s lamer than a crappy photo of Nebraska? A: Having to pay $8,000 in copyright infringement penalties for it. This is a lesson we recently learned the hard way, and if you have (or contribute to) a blog you might want to read about our story so that you never, ever make the same mistake we did.
Read more of this story here
Scared yet? You should be. Taking photos off the web can be a costly mistake. Even if you link back to the site, unless you have paid for the photo, or have expressed permission, it is still considered theft.
It was nearly two years before I discovered this very common blogging faux pas. Once the shock cleared, I had to go back to most of my older posts, and replace the images. Now nearly every single photo on my site I have either taken myself, purchased or have received written consent from the owner to publish on my blog. There's still a few stragglers here and there that have to be fixed, but I'm certainly feeling much better.
Luckily, free stock photos are also a dime a dozen. Sometimes the clarity isn't all the great, and it takes a bit of digging, but you can often time find what you need without having to put yourself at risk.
Here are 25 of my favorite free photo resources!
Life of Pix
Travel Coffee Book
Lock and Stock
New Old Stock
Free Digital Photos
Free Photo Bank
Flicker (select creative commons)
Death to The Stock Photo
Honorary MentionThis next resources isn't free, but it's incredibly affordable and offers thousands of options. Typically if I can't find what I'm looking for, I'll head here to buy what I need. Most images here range from $1-$5 with a $1 Pay Pal fee included.
Don't get hit with that dreaded "cease and desist." Use this awesome list of free photo resources for your website and blog.
Do you have another free resources? Feel free to link it up in the comment section below and I'll add it to the list. Have you ever gotten in trouble for using unauthorized images? Share your story below.
Until next time,