Friday, October 12, 2012

UPDATED: Picture Me

COPYRIGHTS [article originally posted on May 3, 2012]

As bloggers we often search for images to use in our posts. While it's tempting to just Google up something, then copy and paste it, "borrowing" images without permission is a big NO-NO. We, as writers, should be extremely sensitive to this type of copyright infringement.

If you don't think this is an issue, please read this author's blog - she was sued, even after she removed the offending photograph.

What if you find a photograph that you absolutely love and really want/need to use? Easy, you should contact the photographer directly. I've been fortunate to gain permission to use two this way, one for a book cover as well as inside and another inside a flash fiction compilation. It never hurts to ask.

UPDATE: Here are some additional links I found on the NaNoWriMo website to help find images to use in your blogs and web sites.
  • Deviant Art - MAKE SURE that it is marked for stock and the license lets you take it out of DA. Be safe and ask.
  • Stock Exchange - Free stock photos. (not the ones at the top and bottom, but that's apparent since it takes you to istock)
  • All Free Download - Has free vector stuff from around the world. Useful if you have something like illustrator or need a pattern.
Here are some sites I've bookmarked, some free and some public domain:

    I have found several resources that I use a lot for my various blogs and my flash fiction. The first is From their home page:
    Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work, be it commercial or not! Wondering about the morgueFile license? Click here It's also easy to add your own photos to the morgueFile. So, give back because this archive is for creatives by creatives. Why is it called morgue file? Click here and find out.
    When you find a photo you like, scroll all the way to the bottom to see if the photographer has any special requests. A few want a specific credit, many ask for a comment or email (I do both if I can) about how/where you plan to use the photo and some ask for nothing. UPDATE: Morguefile has changed the way they present things, if it's listed there, you may use it. I ALWAYS link to the original page as a courtesy.

    Another site is, designed specifically to put photos in the hands of bloggers and extend the online presence of the photographers. They are very specific in their linking requirement, but very simple to apply. Their about page tells us:
    PhotoPin helps bloggers find photos for their blog and makes adding them to their post fast and easy. Just search for any topic using the search box (ex: HDR, puppies, etc.), preview the photo, and click "get photo" to download the photo as well as the proper attribution link. PhotoPin uses the Flickr API and searches creative commons photos to use for your blog. (Note: we are not associated with Flickr in any way, other than powering our search results using their API.)
    The last is a fun clip art site,, where you can get .PNG files in 3 resolutions, plus SVG & ODG. I often use these to build my own graphic images. According to their terms and disclaimer page: is an online sharing service where users share free public domain vector cliparts, or share public domain photos and derive vector cliparts from those photos using clker's online tracer.
    The one thing all these sites have in common....they need contributors to grow. So if you are a graphic dabbler or a photographer with a stash of old photos, think about contributing to these sites. Oh, and I got my great copyright graphic at Clker!



    1. I'd rather and do use my own photos on my blogs as they are part of my story. Good information for those who grab artwork from other sources!

    2. I'm going to bookmark this post to hang on to those websites. Thanks.

      My biggest problem is I often get photos I love in e-mails that are just making the rounds with no photo credit or any way to find the source. Then it's a use or don't use decision.

    3. It's why I always take my own. I'm not the best photographer and people can take me or leave me. I don't want to infringe someone else's hard work and copyright. My flash seems to have given up though, so mine are a bit dull at the moment..

    4. I've stopped using photos apart from my own. What about Microsoft Clip Art? If you go online there are loads of photos - does anyone know if they are copyright free? I assumed they were.

    5. I blogged about this issue as well. It is so important that bloggers are aware of copyright issues.


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