October 12, 2011

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Copy right: using photos on your website – legally!

This week’s guest post from Sobox editorial consultant Richard Fellner looks at ways to make your real estate website visually appealing without over-stepping the bounds of copyright:

There’s no doubt that a good photo or image on a blog post makes it more interesting to read. But before you do a quick Google search for an image to match your text, beware: just because an image is on the Internet doesn’t mean that you can use it for free.

In fact, a seemingly benign “copy/paste” action could potentially lead to a very expensive lawsuit.

It all centres around copyright infringement. Photos (and other creative works) are generally protected by copyright laws. If you use a piece of work without permission, you are violating the artist’s copyright, and they can, in turn, file a lawsuit against you.  And they will likely win.

And even though the Internet is a big, BIG place — and you may think that there is no way that the photographer will find their photo or your little website or blog — take note: many photographs have embedded metadata within them (usually with captions, descriptions and the artist’s details). And it is a simple matter of the artist doing a  websearch to see where their photos are being used.

So where can you get free photos for your website or blog? Well, there are actually some very good photographers out there who are happy to share their photos or images with you, if you follow their simple rules.

One site that is very popular is Flickr, a photo-sharing site that allows you to use photos that have special usage rights attached to them under what is known as the Creative Commons License. Each photo under the CCL has different usage rights (according to the wishes of the photographer). Some photographers allow usage of their work if you give proper attribution. Others require that you ask for permission. And many require that the photo is for non-commercial use. Read more at Flickr’s “Creative Commons” page.

Another good source is the Wikimedia commons, which is the photographic database of Wikipedia. Like Flickr’s Creative Commons, the photos in Wikimedia are all freely usable, provided that you follow the simple rules.

Finally, a third source is Stock.XCHNG – a photographic database (owned by Getty Images). There are many different options here, with many of the photographers simply requiring that you notify them when you use their image (The photo above was sourced from Stock.XCHNG under that requirement)

Of course, there are many more free image databases out there. So have a look!


Related posts:

  1. Free Photo Resources For Your Website
  2. zillow.com: Photos Make a Dramatic Difference
  3. Website Spotlight: curbed.com
  4. Top 10 Tips for Property Photos
  5. Ten Niche Marketing Ideas for Your Website
  6. Photos are king
  7. Making Photos and Videos Work Harder
  8. Getting Started with Flickr
  9. 10 Local Content Ideas for Your Website

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