Copyright is easiest to understand by following the rules stated above.
However, in reality, there are different levels that may give you access to
specific images. If there’s a particular image you desperately need for your
blog or business, consider these stipulations regarding copyright.
One of the most common forms of copyright you’ll come across is known as
Creative Commons (CC), named after the non-profit organisation. Creative
Commons allows some relaxing of the stringent rules surrounding copyright,
which can benefit both the producer and user when done correctly. However,
you must understand Creative Commons licenses before using these
Creative Commons images usually allow you to use them without
modification, so long as the creator is clearly cited. Often, this will happen in
the form of a link to the user’s online profile underneath the image.
However, there can be variations on the requirements behind Creative
Commons images, so you must look into each case. Note that citing images
not included in Creative Commons does not protect you from falling foul of
Fair and Non-Commercial Use
There are also variations with copyright regarding fair use. The fair use rule
allows you to use specific images that are in the public interest, so long as its
use doesn’t impede on copyright rules or alter the owner’s ability to use,
modify or sell the image.
As you can see, fair use rules leave a lot of grey areas which make using
these images incredibly risky. In general, fair use is designed for reviewers
to include pictures of what they’re talking about and doesn’t apply to things
such as images of public places. If you’re unsure, avoid copyrighted images,
as arguments over fair use can be lengthy.
The same applies to non-commercial use. While this sounds simple, non-
commercial use can mean different things to different creators. For example,
if an image is labelled for non-commercial reuse and you use it on your business’ blog, the creator could argue that this is commercial. Again, if
you’re unsure, avoid.
Web Image Search Options
Search engines such as Google and Bing have popular image search engines
that allow you to find unlimited pictures. There are also tools on these search
engines where you can only see images that are available for commercial or
While these search engines can provide inspiration, they are not reliable
when it comes to copyright. Search engines state that, regardless of where
they appear on their platforms, the final decision is with the image owner
and user, making you liable if the search engine turns out to be incorrect.
You must research every image you wish to take from a search engine to
ensure you know what copyright rules apply.