So you’ve written a masterful blog about the differences between android devices and apple products and you want to punctuate your findings with media from the internet.
Not so fast!
Do you own the copyright for those images you found in your Google search? You may be free to look at everything on the internet but not necessarily to post them. Copyright laws protect the owners of images and media from others unrightfully using their content to make money.
But how else can you show the difference between the new Samsung Galaxy’s standard audio input jack and the weird hybrid charger-headphone port that Apple is sporting?
Well, there are a few ways you can reach your goal of posting fantastic pieces and eye-catching media without getting hit with a cease and desist. For your benefit, here are a few simple Do’s and don’ts for adding images to your WordPress site:
DO Your homework. Copyright laws for the internet are moving targets and each image may be have different licenses that either allow you or prevent you from using them. Try using Google Images’ Tool setting “Labeled for reuse”. This can help you sort through popular search results and inform you what is free for fair use.
DON’T Rely on Google Images’ “Labeled for reuse” tool. I know what you’re thinking:
“What? But that totally contradicts what you just said to do!”
Listen, relying heavily on just one method of searching free images to use can be detrimental to your bank account. While this tool on Google Images can help you find what you’re looking for, dig deeper and follow the links on each photo to the specific licenses and terms that need to be followed to use that image.
DO Look into cites such as iStock and Shutterstock that allow you to pay for the rights to use their images. These digital catalogues can save you a ton of headaches and are easy to use.
Simply purchase the photo you want to use, read the terms for the license for the image, and give the appropriate credit.
[You can add images to a post on WordPress while editing a post and selecting the “Add Media” button in the toolbar above the text box. Upload the image you want to to your media library, then select the image and insert it to the “visual” content box. To give proper credit, under the photo insert the term “Photo Credit” and create a hyperlink through that text to the photo credit page from site you bought the photo]
DON’T Use photos you pull from licensing sites without giving photo credit. Photo credit is often part of license agreement with media sites. Do not try to cut corners when using images you did not create. Cutting corners can cost money if an owner of an image feels like you violate the license agreement and send you a legal notice over its use.
DO Use free sites like Wikicommons and Creative Commons to search for photos as well. Unlike sites like iStock, places like Wikicommons have content that you can use for free, you still have to follow whatever license agreement that is associated with the photo so do your research. Wikicommons is great because under their photos there is a (CC) link you can click on which takes you to another page that spells out the terms of the agreement. In most cases you simply have to credit the photo in your blog with a caption and hyperlink.
DON’T Use photos posted on other sites random sites and link back to them thinking that you will be protected by fair use. Do your research and try to avoid using images of famous people or brand name items in your posts. More often than not, these are copyright images you will receive a cease and desist, and you might get sued… and you will have to pay. Remember “I didn’t know it was copyright,” is not going to protect you from a lawsuit.
DO Use original content. You’re a content provider, that’s what you do. So don’t be shy to go out and take your own photos, design your own images and use original content. Original content is great because you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to use it and in most cases you don’t have to pay for it.
Well, this all a great start for helping you spice up your blog with images and avoid some legal fees but do your own research. Go down the rabbit hole of fair use images and see which common content sites work for you!