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Finding And Using Images On The Web

Photo via Kalexanderson If you're running a website or blog, you understand the importance of creating quality content. Although writing good content is essential, words alone don't offer the sizzle that images and video can provide. While many may make a practice of offhandedly copying images and re-posting them, that's an ill-advised way to gather ANY type of content. It could lead you straight to a copyright infringement lawsuit, and end up costing you as much as $150,000 per incident. This is no fun, except for the person who takes your money, and the lawyers who will buy lots of nice things after billing the dickens out of you. Here's some things to keep in mind when gathering images to add to your website. Types Of Images Creative Commons-licensed images are great if you're working with a budget (or no budget at all). Check out this super-simple visual breakdown of how to properly share Creative Commons works. Learn more about Creative Commons here. Rights-managed images require you to pay a fee each time that you use them. The creator of the image reserves the right to sell it to certain people and has to be compensated each time it's used. Royalty free images don't force you to pay each time you use them, but you do have to pay for the image. You pay a one-time fee to be able to use the image as much as you want. Public domain images are always a safe bet when you're stockpiling images for your site or blog. When a picture is in the public domain, it means that you can use it for any purpose without having to worry about paying or giving attribution. Attribution Creative Commons images require attribution for the image on your site. This means that you need to include the name or screen name of the creator of the image, as well as a link to the site where you got it. Just because you have the right to use the photo for free, that does not necessarily give you the right to use it without attribution. You are also supposed to provide the license type. You can simply link to the page where you found it to meet this requirement. If you use royalty free images or rights-managed images, you should not have to provide any attribution on your site. Since you are paying for the image, you do not also have to give credit to the photographer in most cases. Find The Source! You might find an awesome image on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit that you think would be perfect for your site. Before you pull it and use it for yourself, do your research. Search for it in Google Images or Flickr to see if you can find the original source. Rather than obeying your fast-moving brain that seeks the glory of the multiple likes and shares that you may receive on (insert social media platform here), do the right thing. You don't want to find yourself in a thorny legal snafu because you decided to swipe a picture of David Lee Roth or something. What practices do you follow when looking for images on the web? Let us know in the comments.    


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