Sunday, 7 April 2013

Image selection, the legality and "FREE" images




How do you find images for your blog and what is the legality behind using pictures you randomly find on the web...

Well, most countries have similar laws which come down to the following simple guidelines:
  1. Random images are not okay to use on your blog design, or for commercial use (making money from). They are more then likely copyrighted.
  2. You may use random images in your blog posts, as these are denoted as "Fair Use" (click for a scholarly definition of Fair Use).
So what are your options
in regard to Blog Design?

You can visit sites who have not only paid images but also "free" images, with some sort of Creative Commons Licence. Generally these "free" images are with conditions. The most common condition is to refer back to the owner of the image when used (termed attribution), with a reference to the owner (near the image) on your blog. It is also polite to then let the owner of the image know you have used the image and provide them with a link.


Definitions of attribution from Creative Commons:

Attribution: CC BY
Allows you to distribute, tweak, and/or build upon the original image for personal or commercial purposes, provided that you credit the creator. 

Attribution-NoDerivs: CC BY-ND
Allows you to distribute the image “unchanged and in whole” for commercial and non-commercial purposes, provided that you credit the creator. 

Attribution-ShareAlike: CC BY-SA
Allows you to tweak and build upon the original image for commercial and non-commercial purposes, provided that you credit the creator. Any new art you create based on the original image will carry the same license and be available for commercial use by others.

Attribution-NonCommercial: CC BY-NC
Allows you to tweak or build upon the image non-commercial purposes, provided that you credit the creator. Any new art you create will not carry the same license as the original image, but still must be used for non-commercial purposes only. 

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA
Allows you to tweak and build upon the original photo for non-commercial reasons only, provided that you credit the creator. 

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs: CCBY-NC-ND
Allows you to share the image, unchanged, for non-commercial purposes only provided that you credit the author. This is the most limited license. 


Image Borrowing Best Practices

Each image released under creative commons likely has one of the above licenses. You should always check the license agreement to make sure you aren’t violating anything.

Not all free images require a credit to the image creator; many images on stock photography site Stock.xchng don’t ask for attribution, but their standard license does request that you “take the time to comment on and rate the Image you downloaded and do your best to show the work you created with the Image to the photographer.”

You can also find free stock images at the following sites, there are others, but these are the best:

5. Google Creative Commons Image Search check the bottom tab in Google's Advanced Search to either "free to use, share or modify" or "free to use, share or modify /even commercially". Be aware that these sites have their own restrictions and licence agreements, you should take the time to familiarise yourself with the terms of each image.

My final thought on this would be, "why not create your own images?".

This is easier than it sounds and just takes thought and practice. A picture taken for a specific purpose on your blog can give it a "genuine" feel... pick up your camera and give it a go!

Editing your pictures and creating Backgrounds, Headers and Blog Buttons is just as easy (I will be covering this in a future post).

Again, contact me if you have any questions,

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