There is a common belief that if you find an image on the internet, that image is “open-source” or “free to use”. This belief is WRONG and it could cost you dearly. Getting an image off of Google Images (or any other website) and putting it on your site is a great way to get sued.
Here’s the truth: USING OTHER PEOPLE’S IMAGES WITHOUT THEIR EXPLICIT PERMISSION IS STEALING! Not to worry, though. If you are on a budget, you CAN get very affordable stock photography online, legally. You can get legal, licensed images in the $.10 to $5.00/image range. Cool, right?!
Who do we recommend?
WHAT NOT TO DO:
Never assume you can use images you find:
- Image search through search engines - Searching with Google or bing are great ways to find just the right image. This method is also wrong and will get you in trouble! These images belong to somebody and it is not your property to use, especially for a commercial website.
- Photo sharing sites like Flickr, Photobucket or Picassa - Asking someone on a photo sharing site permission to use their photo is tricky. Don't assume that the person sharing it is the owner. Ask them where the found it. If they bought the image, it does not mean they have the right to re-sell it.
- Clip art and image libraries - Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher and other software packages you have purchased may provide nice libraries of images, but read the user agreement. These images are licensed for use with their program, and usually only for personal use, not a commercial website.
To be safe, assume you do not have permission to use an image unless you have written permission from the image creator. If you find an image you really like, contact the artist and ask what is required to use their image.