Author Topic: Using images in blog posts  (Read 449 times)  

Offline SBlake

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Using images in blog posts
« on: August 25, 2017, 04:25:04 pm »
I've wondered about this one for a while. I'm often inspired by images that I find online; they help me create a space, for example, for my characters to meet in. Or in some cases they inspire a new character altogether.

My current series is about different love stories that take place around the world. Once I start releasing in a few weeks here, I want to show some of the images that have inspired some of my locations. Is there a way to do this without buying the rights to the images? They're just things I've found on google images, but I'm worried about getting burned later on.

Can anyone recommend sites where images are actually, truly, free to use for blogs? Or other advice about using found images in a post?


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    Offline michisjourdi

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    Re: Using images in blog posts
    « Reply #1 on: August 25, 2017, 04:38:42 pm »
    You could link to the images instead of posting them directly.

    Another option would be to go to a site like Pixabay or PublicDomainPictures.net and get free images from there. I like Pixabay because of the ability to add an image to your favorites in case you need to bookmark where you got it from.  :)

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    Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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    Re: Using images in blog posts
    « Reply #2 on: August 25, 2017, 05:21:08 pm »
    If you're talking about just blog posts, rather than commercial book covers, etc, I don't think it's such a big deal. Sure, you're still trying to make money, but a blog post isn't actual product with that image on it.

    Regardless, because of the proliferation of images and their distribution it's very much become the responsibility of the image owner to protect that image with a watermark or clear copyright warning. Without these, I'm not saying you're automatically allowed to use it, but I think it's safe to assume the owner accepts it may be redistributed. If you make a reasonable effort to ensure there is no statement of copyright warning relating to the image, it's probably okay to use as a blog header. Start using it on 60-foot digital signage...

    Of course, there's always the risk you're sourcing from an illegitimate website, but again that's the effort you need to make. Most people will only ask for accreditation - that's a trick, actually. If you do contact the image owner, ask what is the correct accreditation, not "how much?".

    But you can't get into too much trouble for using an image when the owner hasn't made enough effort to protect it, it's easily accessible and not a blatant franchise or recognisable brand. Really, most images have probably already passed through a dozen website and been redistributed countless times before you find it.

    I hope you can see the line I'm trying to draw. Technically, you shouldn't use anything without permission. Which would bring the internet to a grinding halt overnight. Reasonable use without clear commercial gain of an image that has no attached copyright shouldn't attract any complaint.
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    Online ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Using images in blog posts
    « Reply #3 on: August 25, 2017, 05:59:14 pm »
    If you're talking about just blog posts, rather than commercial book covers, etc, I don't think it's such a big deal. Sure, you're still trying to make money, but a blog post isn't actual product with that image on it.

    Regardless, because of the proliferation of images and their distribution it's very much become the responsibility of the image owner to protect that image with a watermark or clear copyright warning. Without these, I'm not saying you're automatically allowed to use it, but I think it's safe to assume the owner accepts it may be redistributed. If you make a reasonable effort to ensure there is no statement of copyright warning relating to the image, it's probably okay to use as a blog header. Start using it on 60-foot digital signage...

    Of course, there's always the risk you're sourcing from an illegitimate website, but again that's the effort you need to make. Most people will only ask for accreditation - that's a trick, actually. If you do contact the image owner, ask what is the correct accreditation, not "how much?".

    But you can't get into too much trouble for using an image when the owner hasn't made enough effort to protect it, it's easily accessible and not a blatant franchise or recognisable brand. Really, most images have probably already passed through a dozen website and been redistributed countless times before you find it.

    I hope you can see the line I'm trying to draw. Technically, you shouldn't use anything without permission. Which would bring the internet to a grinding halt overnight. Reasonable use without clear commercial gain of an image that has no attached copyright shouldn't attract any complaint.

    If an image is not licensed for use, whether it's posted on a blog or used for a book cover doesn't matter. People have been sued for using unlicensed pics on their blog. Don't risk using an image that you do not have permission to use.

    And yes, you can get into trouble for using an image that the owner hasn't made 'enough effort' to protect. Copyright of an image is the same as copyright of a story, in that it's a right and does not have to be asserted in order to be valid. Just because there's no watermark does not constitute permission.
             

    Offline kathrynoh

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    Re: Using images in blog posts
    « Reply #4 on: August 25, 2017, 06:09:08 pm »
    If you're talking about just blog posts, rather than commercial book covers, etc, I don't think it's such a big deal. Sure, you're still trying to make money, but a blog post isn't actual product with that image on it.

    Regardless, because of the proliferation of images and their distribution it's very much become the responsibility of the image owner to protect that image with a watermark or clear copyright warning. Without these, I'm not saying you're automatically allowed to use it, but I think it's safe to assume the owner accepts it may be redistributed. If you make a reasonable effort to ensure there is no statement of copyright warning relating to the image, it's probably okay to use as a blog header. Start using it on 60-foot digital signage...

    Of course, there's always the risk you're sourcing from an illegitimate website, but again that's the effort you need to make. Most people will only ask for accreditation - that's a trick, actually. If you do contact the image owner, ask what is the correct accreditation, not "how much?".

    But you can't get into too much trouble for using an image when the owner hasn't made enough effort to protect it, it's easily accessible and not a blatant franchise or recognisable brand. Really, most images have probably already passed through a dozen website and been redistributed countless times before you find it.

    I hope you can see the line I'm trying to draw. Technically, you shouldn't use anything without permission. Which would bring the internet to a grinding halt overnight. Reasonable use without clear commercial gain of an image that has no attached copyright shouldn't attract any complaint.

    Seriously, no!

    That's like someone finding your book on a pirate site and copying big chunks of it then saying if you wanted to protect your work, it wouldn't be on a pirate site to start with.

    Also, if you're using the photos on an author site, that is commercial. You aren't making money out of the blog post but you're using it to promote your books.  Images on Google aren't available for free use. I can post one of my own photos to my blog and it will turn up on a Google image search. I don't want to stick ugly watermarks on my photos but that doesn't mean anyone can freely use them.

    And, like Shayne said, people have been sued for using unauthorised photos on their blogs.

    If you want photos, I'd either start by doing a google search for free images. There are quite a few sites that have them (eg. https://medium.com/@dustin/stock-photos-that-dont-suck-62ae4bcbe01b). Alternatively, get one of those deals where you can like 100 images for around $30 from a stock site (often someone posts on here when they come up).

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    Re: Using images in blog posts
    « Reply #5 on: August 25, 2017, 06:51:14 pm »
    There are a few sites that have good pics that have been explicitly released for use without buying a license:

    * Pixabay is my favorite source for blog and newsletter pics, not public domain but all images licensed under Creative Commons CC0
    * MorgueFile.com is another good one, but the terms of its license do not allow use as is, you must modify the image (or fully credit the photographer)
    * SplitShire - a single, prolific photographer's collection
    * Unsplash - curated collection
    * New York Public Library's Digital Collections (check terms of individual items; mostly good for historical stuff)
    * Wikimedia Commons - check individual pics terms, some are licensed as their collection has a wide range of licenses, and they curate pretty heavily to keep out people uploading stuff they don't have rights to

    Offline SBlake

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    Re: Using images in blog posts
    « Reply #6 on: August 25, 2017, 07:22:17 pm »
    There are a few sites that have good pics that have been explicitly released for use without buying a license:

    * Pixabay is my favorite source for blog and newsletter pics, not public domain but all images licensed under Creative Commons CC0
    * MorgueFile.com is another good one, but the terms of its license do not allow use as is, you must modify the image (or fully credit the photographer)
    * SplitShire - a single, prolific photographer's collection
    * Unsplash - curated collection
    * New York Public Library's Digital Collections (check terms of individual items; mostly good for historical stuff)
    * Wikimedia Commons - check individual pics terms, some are licensed as their collection has a wide range of licenses, and they curate pretty heavily to keep out people uploading stuff they don't have rights to

    These are great resources. Thank you! And thanks to the others who also chimed in.  :)


    Offline amdonehere

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    Re: Using images in blog posts
    « Reply #7 on: August 25, 2017, 08:27:28 pm »
    Just want to add a couple of helpful tips:

    1. If you Google search for images, you can filter the search for photos that are available for use and share even for commercial purposes. There's also an even more defined filter for photos available for, use, share AND modification even for commerical purposes. Barring these filters, I'd advised against using the non-filtered ones on any blog or your website. One might question whether you can share the non-filtered ones on FB, twitter or Instgram but this is done so much nowadays that unless the copyright holder is being really anal, it's likely more trouble than it's worth for them to pursue it. At most, they'll probably contact the social media host and request for a take down.

    2. Sometimes people forget the simple and basic because we are so trained to go online for everyting. Last year, a blogger (not an author, but from a non-writing related form where I visit) warned about how she got into serious trouble when she uploaded an photo of a pepper to provide visuals for her blog. Turns out there are copyrights squatters out there who release all sorts of images as a trap just waiting for some naive person to use it without obtaining copyrights. She got slapped with a lawsuit claiming thousands of dollars in damages (could be punitive damages IDK). Anyway, my thought after reading about what happened was, why didn't she just buy a pepper at the local supermarket, take her photo, and upload that? It was a casual blog post and she didn't need anything specific, like a historical site in another country. The thing is, we're so trained to search for usable photos online, we easily forget that we could take our own sometimes.

    To OP: I don't know if the photos you want to share have any unique elements. But you might be able to simply take a variation of the same thing yourself.
    « Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 08:29:47 pm by AlexaKang »

    Offline kathrynoh

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    Re: Using images in blog posts
    « Reply #8 on: August 25, 2017, 10:42:59 pm »

    2. Sometimes people forget the simple and basic because we are so trained to go online for everyting. Last year, a blogger (not an author, but from a non-writing related form where I visit) warned about how she got into serious trouble when she uploaded an photo of a pepper to provide visuals for her blog. Turns out there are copyrights squatters out there who release all sorts of images as a trap just waiting for some naive person to use it without obtaining copyrights. She got slapped with a lawsuit claiming thousands of dollars in damages (could be punitive damages IDK). Anyway, my thought after reading about what happened was, why didn't she just buy a pepper at the local supermarket, take her photo, and upload that? It was a casual blog post and she didn't need anything specific, like a historical site in another country. The thing is, we're so trained to search for usable photos online, we easily forget that we could take our own sometimes.

    To OP: I don't know if the photos you want to share have any unique elements. But you might be able to simply take a variation of the same thing yourself.

    This :) I am planning to blog about locations that I used in my book or just interesting macabre places I've been in my travels. I'll use my own photos because they are all places I've been. TBH I'm mainly planning on the posts for my own future reference.

    Another simple thing to do is just email the image owner if you find a photo you like somewhere like instagram. If people aren't professional photographers, they might be more than happy to have their photo used (with credit of course). I had a hotel ask if they use my photos for promos and I was was only too happy to agree. I know some people think you should charge for things like that but it wasn't worth the bother for me although if I'd planned to go back there, I'd have probs asked for comp night's stay :)

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