Why Using Photos from the Internet is Usually a Bad Idea

Using photos from the internet can be such a source of headache. By the end of this post, you’re going to understand why it’s probably not a good idea to use images that you found on Google Image Search or Pinterest in connection with your business, and what you might do instead.

Common misconception: a lot of folks think that images that you find on Google Image Search or on Pinterest are in the public domain, or free of copyright, or free to use, and that could not be further from the truth.

Google catalogs images from everywhere, all kinds of different websites without regard to copyright ownership. So by using an image from Google Image Search or from Pinterest, you don’t know just by looking at the image whether it’s protected under copyright law, and you certainly don’t know whether you have permission from the owner to use it. In fact, I would assume that you don’t.

The issue is copyright, which of course speaks to who owns the photo or who owns the image, but also “right of publicity.” And remember, that right of publicity is an individual’s right to control how their name, image, and likeness is used for a commercial or business purpose. So whoever it is that appears in that image might not want their name, image, or likeness used in connection with your business purpose.

What to do Instead of Using Photos from the Internet

If using photos from the internet can get you into trouble, what other options do you have? Well, there are plenty of reputable stock photo websites out there, some of which say “here are do-whatever-you-want-with-them photos” sometimes those sites have strings attached, so maybe it’s “do- whatever-you-want-with-them” photos… so long as you give credit or attribution.

Sometimes the photos can be used for personal use, but if you want to use it in connection with a business then you have to pay an extra license fee. 

So make sure and read the fine print, read the Terms of Use for those stock photo sites to make sure that you’re using them and compliance with their rules their license terms.

That is a much better option than using images from Pinterest or from Google Image Search.

What’s that? Free info? Yes, please. Click below to learn four things you can do right now to protect your business online.