by Zoe Huden on October 02, 2012
Even though the Internet has tons of content that users are able to download, modify, save, etc., that doesn’t mean that content is free. Most content is copyrighted and “borrowing” amounts to plagiarism. So what is a blogger in search of great, free images to illustrate their point to do? Well, you could always snap your own photo or create your own image. Or, you could look to the Creative Commons for inspiration.
In this post we’ll discuss why images are important to online content as well as what images you are (legally!) free to use.
Although most people over the age of ten don’t decide whether or not to read a piece of content solely based on whether or not there are pictures included, many digital marketers have pointed out that often a picture gets far more traffic, “likes”, “shares”, and tweets than a bit of text. Yes, it’s an overused cliché, but a well-chosen picture illustrating your content online is often worth 1000 words, or at least a click, a read or a share.
Images interspersed with text in online content help to keep the audience engaged with that content. And any experienced digital marketer will tell you that creating engaging content is extremely important to your online presence.
Every picture taken in the United States is considered copyrighted by the person who took the picture. If you find and use an image without permission granted to you by the owner of the image, then you are putting yourself at risk for a lawsuit.
To make sure that you are following the law and able to use an image, you have 3 options:
Creative Commons is a U.S. non-profit that started back in 2002. Their purpose was to make it easier for people to share images online. Creative commons licenses help to protect both the authors of a work (owners of an image) as well as the people who wish to use, share, modify, etc. that work.
The CC license protects the works of artists, authors, photographers, etc. by allowing them to specify exactly what they want the conditions for use to be in their CC licenses. The CC license also protects people who use those works from copyright infringement as long as they follow the conditions set by the owner of the work.
There are quite a few places where you can locate CC licensed images. Here are the three highest recommended sources for CC-licensed images:
Remember, just because you find an image online, doesn’t mean that that image is free for you to use. Always make sure that you are keeping yourself aware of the laws, policies, and licenses that are associated with the images you are using, to avoid legal and possibly financial trouble down the line.
Questions about creating engaging online digital content?
Have a work you’re interested in getting a Creative Commons license for?
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