There is such a lot of confusion about the photos that are on Google; leading many of us to naturally assume it is ok to use them. It is simply not valid that Google and Yahoo images have become public domain and are free of copyright. If you have your heart set on using a particular image, please follow through the links to determine the possible public domain status, or at the very least – give attribution by posting the full link to where you found the image. The following articles contain some of the FACTS of which we must be aware :
Protecting Your Own Images
If you are using your own images and have some concern about others taking advantage of your own work, there is a process of watermarking them to prevent the assumption your images are public domain. The following resource shows you how to protect your work and offers a good list of both free and inexpensive programs available.
Getting Written Permission to Use Images
Unfortunately, it is not always safe to rely on verbal permission to use a particular image, or even a collection you have found and liked. Use the following procedure to protect yourself when this is the scenario in which you find yourself.
Find the photo for which you have been given permission. Click on it until it is enlarged on the screen and selecting from the options at the bottom of the photo, choose the download – saving it to your harddrive as you would any other document or image, using the name of the artist or the url of the page where you found it. When you create your post and need to add the attribution – the file name will serve as a quick copy/paste that includes the artist’s name and website location. Instead of “Photo by” that you might otherwise use, type instead, “Used with Permission, followed by the Artist’s name and website location.
Correct Attribution for Creative Commons Graphics
You will, from time to time, run across sites that offer what are known as creative commons graphics; found in places like Wikipedia and other similar sites. Each requires a different attribution; the following article gives you the heads up on this topic.
Free Use and Royalty Free Images
Ouch! If you don’t follow the correct procedures for attributions, it is possible to be fined up to $25,000. I had a friend who was hit for $6,000 recently. Just not worth it – so as you are looking a free stock photo sites – follow the rules and procedures. Royalty free is rather a misnomer – it does NOT mean they are free to use – it indicates you have to pay a licensing fee to use them. It is far easier to pay $30-40 for an image you REALLY want than to risk a potential fine.
What About Quote Images?
Much of your marketing can be enhanced with quotes, which are much more appealing when they are an attractive image all dressed up with an inspiring quote. This particular site is an easy to use, no fear kind of site. All you have to promise is that you will not crop or change them in any manner, and not remove the copyright or website info found at the bottom; no need to credit or post an attribution.
The Big List of Copyright Images -Alpha Sort
It is impossible to determine who needs what kind of image and once you get to searching, you will be amazed at just how many image options there are. Take your time to look through the following BIG List, select a few that really resonate with you and follow the policies and procedures and you will be adding “street legal” images to your marketing with ease.
http://www.123rf.com/freeimages.php ( Account set-up required for both free graphics and paid selections.
http://1photos.com/ (Not so sure I would use this one, but others may not mind the requirement that all free to use photographs come with a copyright watermark on them. As long as you do not remove the watermark/copyright information, you may use the photos for personal and professional purposes.)
http://www.4freephotos.com/ (Free for use and do not want to have linkback to image because it takes up their bandwidth!)
http://www.acliparthistory.com/2011/index.php?id=1726 and it’s accompanying site: http://www.clipart-people.com/
http://christmasstockimages.com/This (This is a lovely site for royalty free Christmas and Holiday Season graphics that you can use as long as you link back to the site (using courtesy of Free Christmas Stock Photos with the URL of the graphic), per the instructions.
http://www.clipartcastle.com/download/Home/Clip-Art-Collection/?f=ihrwO2kce&a=7378&adid=267699050 (This is a site that is compatible only within a Windows format – sorry Apple and Unix users!)
http://www.dreamstime.com/ (You need to sign up for a free account. Then if you click the tab “Free Images,” you are using stock images. The good thing about this site is that if you pick an image that is not free, you will have to pay before you can download it.)
“Optional: we would appreciate the acknowledgement taking the form of a clickable link, as this can help us attract more visitors, which helps us continue to offer free images. For example: Image courtesy of [image creator name] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“The name of the image creator is shown on the image details page on the website. When you download the free image, we can also send you an email to confirm your download, which will include the name of the image creator.”
http://freerangestock.com (You must create an account. FREE images have RED identifiers, Premium/pay for images have green.)
http://karenswhimsy.com/public-domain-images/ (I found no registration reguirements and at last view, the site housed a statement: “You don’t have to buy any of the images here; they are all free. However, a few are available at a higher resolution for purchase. If you don’t see a “Buy” link, then just grab the image and don’t worry about paying for it.” It would be a courtesy to indicate the following when you use the images however, “Image courtesy of <a href=”http://karenswhimsy.com/public-domain-images” title=”Public Domain Images”>Public Domain Images</a>”.
http://www.kozzi.com/ (Take a few minutes to create your account and then look around the site for both free and premium/subscription images. You will know immediately which is which – you can’t download ones for which have a cost if you don’t pay. The free images can be modified and changed in any way you want/need with no restrictions.
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/??lc=en-us When you find images on the Microsoft site, you must use the following statement with any of the images you use from there: “Used with permission from Microsoft.”
www.morguefile.com/ (You need to create an account and sign up for the FREE photos.)
http://www.newenglandstockphotos.com/ (This site also offers both free and for ree graphics; however they are mostly clipart, wih I seldom use. It does have a nice “sort feature. An interesting policy notes: “once you download a graphic, it is no longer available to the public. ”
http://www.picdrome.com/page/gallery (Although I have not yet tried this site – it appears to ve an EXCELLENT source for graphics. The owner wants to create a growing PUBLIC DOMAIN collection, free of copyright and licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication. How generous that all images are free to download for personal, educational and commercial use, without restriction.)
http://www.public-domain-image.com/ (Another site where no registration is required. The site states, “Public domain images are top quality, high resolution (up to 20 mega pixels). All images are copyright.” The images that you can use are listed in categories on the lefthand side of the [age. Do not click on the links in the middle of the page, as they are advertisements and will take you away from the images you can use and put you into sites where you will have to buy the images to use them.
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/ (Sometimes, it just becomes what you have to do – buy an image that steals your heart! Although this has public domain images, they require you to pay a subscription to get to the images.
http://www.sunipix.com/ (No registration is needed for these royalty free photographs; however, they are only (100 DPI), which is ok for internet use, but not larger print sources.
http://www.sxc.hu/ (Create an account. Pay attention to the offerings. This site will offer you mainly free images, but if you click on a PREMIUM image there will be a fee.) Note: This has now changed to http://www.freeimages.com/ and is one of my favorites!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Image_use_policy. (Wikipedia has a specific use policy – make sure to read the info here, and follow the instructions carefully if you plan to use any from that source. I have never used Wikipedia, but perhaps it is something I should look at – just to expand my options!)
http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-find-royalty-free-images-for-your-wordpress-blog-posts/ (This is a good resource of several websites that have free images – most of them are listed here, but if they expand their list – you might want to take a look upon occasion).
I appreciate ALL feedback. If a link is not longer active, let me know and I will remove it. If you have an amazing link you have found and want to share with others, I would love to give you credit for the find/share!
Anna Weber | Literary Strategist