Why you should be careful when choosing images to use on your blog
4th June 2015
Images and photographs have become such an important aspect of blogging. Images enhance our posts and make them more aesthetically pleasing.
However, recently I have seen blogs that are using images that the blogger clearly does not have permission to use (particularly celebrity images), but I’m pretty sure that said blogger doesn’t realised that this is a problem.
Yes, it is a problem. If you don’t have permission to use an image on your blog that doesn’t belong to you then you may get in trouble. And I mean legal trouble!
It’s so easy to go on to Google Image search and look for the image you want to use in your blog post. You might even think linking back to the source will back you up, but it won’t. If the owner has copyrighted the image then a link back does not make things okay.
And then there is the issue that if you use someone’s image and the original owner does not like what you have used the image for (e.g. Using the image in an offensive post), they will not be happy and legal action may be taken.
Same goes for fonts too. Everyone loves Dafont for finding great fonts, but did you know that some of these fonts are personal use only? I.e. If you’re are using them on your blog and your blog makes any money then you may be penalised.
Back in ye olden days, when Piczo was king and nobody blogged for money, we all used celebrity images and manipulated them in Photoshop to create “blends”. We’d then use them as a part of our website/blog layouts and be none the wiser of the trouble we might get into.
I believe that it was an article that Georgie wrote that changed my mind. She talked about how you shouldn’t use celebrity images in this way. Admittedly, I carried on for a while after reading this article. I couldn’t get enough of my Heath Ledger layouts! But from that moment on I always had the thought in the back of my head of “What if I get caught?”. I did eventually change my ways.
And please don’t be tempted to think that it won’t happen to you because your blog is small or what not. Tonnes of bloggers, regardless of their blog size, have got in trouble for this. A quick Google search will throw up a load of examples when this has happened to bloggers.
What images can you use?
The safest option is to use your own images. Use your own photographs that you have taken, or make some graphics in Photoshop.
You may think that it doesn’t looks as good as someone else’s photography, but surely you’d rather have a poor quality phone picture on your blog than lawyers to deal with.
There are also websites that offer stock images. JennyPurr wrote a great post on where to find stock images, whether you choose to use the images available for free or pay a premium.
In addition, you can use Creative Commons to search for royalty free images. Even then I’d still recommend crediting with a link back saying “Image from here.” or something similar. Again, you just want to be careful that the owner doesn’t change their mind about the copyright of that image, or you do anything to upset them.
And if you are worried about which fonts you use, ensure that when you are searching for fonts of Dafont you search for images that are 100% free.
The aesthetics and appearance of your blog are not worth getting sued over.