This blog post by Steck Insights Web Design will help shed some light on when you can and when you can not use images on your website as well as give you some great resources to get some free images.
If you are like me you never considered that images you find online whether it be Google images, Instagram or a Website you are on are privet property and need to be treated as such. In my first couple years as a web designer I remember hearing that you could get in trouble if you used the wrong images, but if I’m honest I didn’t think there was any system in place to monitor who was using what images. I thought I could use whatever images I found as long as there was no copyright symbol or water marks. I was wrong. The truth of the matter is that someone took or created that image and when they did they became owners of a piece of private property that they can sell and that you can get in trouble for stealing.
How do you know when you are allowed to use images? There are many, many rules and laws about what you are allowed to use and what you are not allowed to use and in what circumstances. Honestly, unless you see in writing that an image is free and labeled for reuse in any way the user wants, you should stay away. If you are not sure, DON’T USE IT! People get caught and sued everyday, and when you get caught it is not just the price of the image that you have to compensate, but many times you have to pay damages. Usually it is the owner of the image that gets to make the decision about what the damage is worth. There are many stories of website owners who have been sued for thousands of dollars for using one image in one place.
Should I be scared to ever use any images on my website? Of course not, if the web didn’t have any images it would be a very dull and boring place. There are good alternatives. The first one is you can go to stock image sites and purchase the right to use images for a fairly inexpensive price (especially in contrast to the thousands of dollars it could cost if you are found using images illegally).
Some great stock image sites are:
What if my budget is too small to buy images? Thats just fine you can find free images online you just have to know where to look, and what to look for to make absolutely sure they are free. There are sites that have free ways to get images.
Here are a few great sites to get free images:
- Unsplash(All of the images used in this post are from Unsplash)
As an additional resource, check out this practical guide to copyright for bloggers. Hopefully this is helpful please leave questions and comments below.