Photo Copyright – When are Photos free to use?
I first became aware of photo copyright when I ran an msn group. There was a lot of debating about people typing Pooh Bear into Google, images popping up that it was assumed were free to use, not occurring to anyone that there were any photo copyright issues. There were arguments about people stealing the images from one msn group to another, and eventually it came out that the photo copyright actually belonged to Disney – they were not free to use and only Disney could really complain about the use of the images.
I honestly think it is a common mistake to make. I think people aren’t clear by what they can and can’t do. They are oblivious to the photo copyright laws/rules. People have different opinions on the subject of photos but here are mine.
When do you have Photo Copyright
You can only use photos if you have actually taken them yourself (or have drawn/made them from scratch) or have permission from the person who has taken the photo. Then there are exceptions such as you can’t take images of copyrighted things and then use them as yours – they still have photo copyright on them – or for example things you see on television – as they have the copyright. Apart from direct authorisation from the photographer and when the photos are free-to-use (be careful where you take them from and it is good practise to link back to the source). This includes photos of yourself and your children – they belong to the photographer not you. Also there is no law stopping people taking photos of you in a public place, unless you can prove that they are doing something illegal with them.
Photo Copyright and Social Media
Google images are not the place to look for free-to-use images.. The use of Pinterest has clouded the issue – but I personally take it that if someone is displaying a Pinterest badge they want me to share their image (with a link back) and I always state that I will remove them as soon as contacted if this is not okay. I also let the person know that I have featured their image.
You do not need to state on your blog that the images are copyrighted to you – although it may help your case if you took it to court. Sorry but chances are you are not going to take it to court, as it would cost more than it’s worth. In saying that, the above stands and it is not legal, ok, right, you do not need to get your photos copyrighted to stop people taking them. Besides it is just wrong.
Don’t assume that just because a PR agency has sent you images to use that you can then help yourself to other, similar, images – stick to the ones that you have been given express permission.
What to do when you own the Photo Copyright
Whether you mark your photos or not is a matter of preference. Some people say that photos are less likely to be pinned if marked. I personally brand my photos, it tells people they are mine, makes them less likely to be passed off as someone else’s (yes people take photos of people’s lives and pretend to be them, I’ve have seen these trolls during my time online). It also means people think of me, get a feel of who I am, a reminder – a Brand I simply paste on my image to the photo – simple. I used to watermark too. Yes they can be removed, but not everyone knows how to do that, and it takes time. So if someone wanted to “steal” and image to use they wouldn’t be taking mine for that reason.
I’ve just discovered that if you type in a description in the alt codes then it is better picked up by SEO – this is useful if you want people to find your post. do, however, be aware that people are searching images to use those images (as mentioned at the start of this post, they probably don’t realise they can’t). This is where if you put a sign up clearly on your blog then they may realise that you don’t want them taken, they may still take them though as not everyone has high morals.
Please note these are just MY opinions on how things are, I am by no means a professional.
This is not a sponsored post.