I’ve been reading a few articles about the legality of using photos on blogs. Two posts in particular caught my eye today - Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog – My Story by Roni Loren, who talks about the issues that surround taking images from the internet to use on your blog posts. Most bloggers/social media folk use images from the internet without giving much thought to where they come from or who owns them.
I’m one of them. I figured if I search for something in Google Images, I can save it and use it to illustrate a blog post topic. Turns out that someone somewhere owns that image, and I’m leaving myself open to being sued for using it without permission or paying for it. I always figured that if it’s in the public domain it was free to use.
Now I’m not so sure. I can understand that when a photographer takes a load of pictures, let’s say for a family portrait, then he own those images and sells prints to said family. That way the photographer continues to earn a crust and the family can request addition prints later on.
After all, the original piece of work remains the property of the creator, be that photo, video, sculpture, writing etc, unless some sort of contract is agreed to whereby the artist has relinquished all right to that creation.
The second post that grabbed my attention was WANA Commons–Beautiful Blog Images without the Worry by social media Jedi Kristen Lamb. She has set up a Flickr Group called WANA Commons - WANA standing for We Are Not Alone – and designed for bloggers to share their photographs.
Share your photos How To Guide.
All you need to do is set up a Flickr account, don’t worry it’s free and easy-peasy lemon squeezy.
Upload your images and add your tags and a Creative Commons Licence:
As you can see I’ve added the tags to a photo of my dog, Ben. If you want to share your photographs with a group like WANA Commons, add the tag WANACOMMONS and your name. Click EDIT next to the Create Commons Licence, if you’re not sure what options to use visit the Creative Commons website and learn what’s best for you. There’s also a UK based Creative Commons website.
Here’s a quick explanation of what Creative Commons means, taken from the UK site:
Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that assists authors and creators who want to voluntarily share their work, by providing free copyright licences and tools, so that others may take full and legal advantage of the Internet’s unprecedented wealth of science, knowledge and culture.
When you get to the group just click the ADD PHOTOS button.
And here you’ll be given a simple boxy thing where you click the photos you have already uploaded to your Flickr account. You can only click 6 at a time, so be patient if you have lots you want to share with the group.
So these are the photos in my account. I clicked 6 on each row and the appeared in the box on the right. Then click Add To Group and hey-presto you’re sharing your photos with the group.
Because it’s all about creating a community where people can share their media to use on their blogs. You could visit a paid site where you can buy photo’s, and sometimes that’s a very good option if you’re looking for a more professional look for your project or simply want a wider variety of images to choose from.
There are plenty of sites that have plenty of options like royalty free images, subscription based services where you can use a certain number each month and so on. Whether you pay to use images or not I think it’s good practice to give credit to an image.
WANA Commons is an excellent way to share your photos with other bloggers and writers without worrying about the legality of using something without permission. I’m more than happy to let someone use my images so long as they give credit, a simple bit of text under the photo stating my name, or at the end of the article, is more than sufficient.
Sadly I’m well aware of being hypocritical here as I seldom remember to add a name or link to images I use on my blog. But that is going to change. From now on I’ll make every effort to ensure any image I use is done correctly and provide a name and link for the original owner.