Looking for copyright free images for your blog post? You may have gone to Google image search and downloaded images there, resulting in viruses on your computer (happens to the best of us) or the nightmare of threatening letters from Getty Images. Not a good idea to just download images from another website.
Just because something is online, doesn’t mean it’s free to use, no matter what we want to believe.
‘Not in this lifetime…’ …What are the copyright rules?
Published works created after 1923 basically adhere to the copyright expiring “70 years after the death of author” or “95 years after publication date.” Nice how the laws changed retroactively to accommodate corporate work…. 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever expires first. Cornell U has a complete breakdown if you want to drive yourself crazy…
Avoid the hassle of using someone else’s images. You’re better off taking pictures yourself, trading with a photographer to take photos for you, or using images found on sites that specialize in copyright-free images.
There are plenty of copyright-free images to use that are available online. Most of the time, all that’s needed is a credit to the photographer or a link back to their site if you are using them in your blog. If the blog post is not promoting an event or product, a lot of images can be used, even if they are being sold elsewhere. You just need to know how to find sites with copyright free images.
Resources for copyright free images to use in your blog posts
Creative Commons. People contribute their work and indicate the usage license for it, much of which is free for bloggers. Use their search engine to bring up images with a Creative Commons Attribution within other sites, like Google, Fotopedia, Wikimedia and Flickr.
For a link back, try FreeFoto.com. Your site should be set up with a ‘Links’ page that may be invisible to the visiting public but contains links back to directories and places like this that require a link on your site.
Kozzi.com is an ad-supported site that offers copyright free images for use in blog posts. These copyright free images are professionally shot and relatively generic, with a pretty decent selection. When you register, use ‘Personal’ in the usage box. As long as your posts are not promoting anything, like an event or product, you can use these images for free. ‘Business’ usage is a mere $4.95 a month. UPDATE: Sorry, no longer true – Kozzi subscription plans start at $14.95/month for 5 downloads a day.
Flickr.com has different licenses determined by the uploader. You can find Creative Commons Attribution images that allow you to use copyright free images with a link back to the uploader. Be careful here, as sometimes people upload images from iStock, Getty or other sites that are actually copyrighted material. Sometimes the comments section will indicate the source of the image; otherwise, check the ‘License’ section in the right sidebar. If it says ‘All Rights Reserved’, do not use it!
To find copyright free images on Flickr.com, use the Advanced Search and click on “ ” at the bottom. When the thumbnails come up:
The popup will show you icons next to ‘Some rights reserved’ – mouseover them to see what rights are reserved: attribution meaning you must credit the photographer, non-commercial means you cannot use it on a commercial site, non-derivative means you cannot change it in any way. Click on these icons to see the full rights allowed.
Flickr also has a group, Foto Share Shop for Bloggers, with over 5,000 great images for use in blogs. The images are ‘fotos that can be used under the Creative Commons License, including for Commercial Purposes as long as the user gives written credit to the Photographer.’
Other government agencies with usable images include:
Wikimedia Commons has over 13 million copyright free images. To credit the contributor, click on the Use for Web link and copy the link.
Morguefile.com is an image site with copyright free images for commercial use.
Public Domain Photos has a collection of 5,000 stock images free for commercial use.
Using Google Images Advanced Search to find Images
You can get limited or pretty weird results using advanced features of Google image search. Use the advanced image search at Google. Select “Only images labeled for reuse” in the Usage Rights box. Google will return a few images matching your keywords. The web site hosting the image will have a usage policy such as a notice that the “Creative Commons” license applies to the work. Don’t expect too much out of this, though. You’re better off using the Creative Commons search page and clicking on Google.
How to Include a Link Back to the Photographer
When you upload the image to WordPress, use the ‘Caption’ field to enter the information, like this
<a href=”http://PUT THE SITE LINK HERE BETWEEN THESE QUOTE MARKS”>NAME OF PHOTOGRAPHER or SITE HERE</a>. An example of what shows up is below the image to the left.
(With Flickr.com images specifically, click on the ‘Share’ button and click HTML code. Use the HTML tab on your WordPress editor to add the copyright free image and the code with link together instead of using the caption field method. )
Otherwise, if you don’t need to link back to the original site, just add the name of the photographer to the Caption field when you upload the image, with ‘Photograph Courtesy of ……’.
What Other Options for Copyright Free Images Are There?
There are a lot of stock photo sites. I like shutterstock.com (about $10 per image) and use istockphoto.com (about $10 per image) when looking for really commercial, professionally shot images. Due to the cost, these are best used on static pages that never change, not blog posts.
What About Using Celebrity Photos?
Nope. Just because courts have decided they are fair-game for paparrazzi, doesn’t mean the photographer gives up rights to the images.