I recently read an excellent but disturbing blog post from author Christoph Fischer, relating to the use of images on your site or blog, that may be under copyright. If you read any posts about blogging, and as a reasonably new blogger, I have done, the advice often given is to use images for each of your posts. But as you will see if you read Christoph’s post, not paying attention to where you get these images from could leave you with a problem – one that may hurt your pocket.
If you do a quick Google image search for any particular subject, a lot of the images you will find may very well be subject to certain usage restrictions, and ignoring these restrictions can result in copyright infringement, and in the case given above, the images in question were reblogged from another author, so beware.
- How can you avoid these problems?
Your safest bet would be to use only images that you yourself have taken, or hold the copyright on. But there is another option; one that doesn’t require you to trek through the Rainforest to get that picture of a tree frog that you need for your post or website. That is ROYALTY FREE IMAGES that are available on the Internet.
There are many complex licensing issues that exist around the use of images, videos and the like, which is why I only ever use images with a CREATIVE COMMONS ZERO (CC0) license.
- What is a CC0 image?
CC0 images are free to be used FOR ANY LEGAL PURPOSE. They are free to use on your website, for personal use, and even for commercial use. You are free to alter these images with image editing software and also to distribute them. IMAGE ATTRIBUTION IS NOT REQUIRED, which means you will not need to link back to the source of the image.
For more information on this license, click here.
- Where do I find these images?
CC0 images are readily available online, some sites being better than others. I have complied a list of sites that I use for my images in my blog / Twitter / Facebook posts. Some sites do some things better than others, eg people, animals or landscape.
All the sites in this list claim to contain free CC0 images, but I would still recommend checking any licensing information associated with a particular image, as occasionally, there may be attribution required (pdpics.com for example). All these sites are searchable, and most of them are categorized as well.
Let me know in the comments if there are other CC0 sites that you use for images.
Pixabay – over 570,000 images, videos, vectors, illustrations.
Pexels – over 5000 images, with 600+ high-resolution images being added each month.
Unsplash – Amazing library of high-resolution images. Subscribe to receive 10 new high-res images in your inbox every 10 days.
Publicdomainpictures – a repository of high-res free public domain images.
Splitshire – Hundreds of high quality images, categorized.
Gratisography – Free to use, high res images. NOT SEARCHABLE.
British Library – thousands of images and text taken from literature held in the British Library
Flickr – thousands of images. A lot of these images have restrictions, but if you search for a particular subject, you can then filter the results, selecting ‘No known copyright issues’.
Skitterphoto – New photos are uploaded every day!
Stocksnap – more high res images!
Magdelaine – A new free high res image every day
Morguefile – Searchable photo archive
Pdpics – Some images on this site ask that you link back to their site for credit.