Photo House Cleaning

As oblivious as I am to most things in the writing world lately, I couldn’t miss the bruhaha over blog photo usage. Just read Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued for Using Pics on Your Blog by Roni Loren and be horrified.

I’m a very visual person and love the look of using images on my blog. (Unless I’m too lazy to go hunt for them in the first place.) Anyway, I did a bit of house cleaning. Luckily, most of the photos here were either mine or ones from free photo sites. I deleted the questionable ones, mainly from really old posts, and now I’m good to go.

And while organizing, I ran across many of my own photos I had forgotten about. So, some of those are the images included in this post.

To get back to the point and help negotiate this dangerous jungle (and because I’m no expert on the subject), I want to point out Marcy Kennedy’s blog. She has two excellent posts, guested by Melinda VanLone. THIS POST lists 7 free and legal places to get photos, and THIS ONE explains how to use your own photos legally.

I’ve also found free images at these websites:

However, please read the information for each image because they may ask for attribution, links, etc.

Many writers also like to use Pinterest and similar sites for inspiration. You need to be careful here as the same rules apply, despite the fact it may seem like a free-for-all. Roni Loren has a post about alternatives to Pinterest.

For a breakdown on what the different Creative Commons licenses mean, click HERE .

As a writer working toward publishing a novel, I know I’d be angry as hell if someone presented my writing as their own. It’s no different with photos. We need to take care in the choice of images we use for our blogs.

How have you been (or not been) affected by this situation? Do you have any photo sources you wish to share?


8 comments on “Photo House Cleaning

  1. curiocat says:

    Hey. I had read the article you reference and pretty much had the same reaction. It is scary, isn’t it? After what happened to Roni I’m not sure I even want to use the free stuff either, just in case I make a mistake.

    My youngest was all into Pinterest and trying to get me to join. I sent the post to her and the follow up post on alternatives. Needless to say I won’t be joining Pinterest.

    I am interested in Flickr. I think I may join that since I’m able to print my photos from there. I love the photos you’ve posted. They are wonderful. Is the kitty you have posted here yours?

    Thanks for the other links you’ve got listed here.


    • E.K. Carmel says:

      Well, I decided if I wanted to use images, I had to figure out what it all meant. It does take extra time to double check when I look at the free sites. Often I get impatient and use my own. But I feel better knowing (or knowing where to find) the rules on how this all works.

      If you join Flickr, please “friend” me or whatever they call it there. I’ve been pretty happy with how their set-up works, what little I’ve played with it.

      The kitty was my mom’s, Hunter, but he’s passed on now.

      I’m glad you’ve found the links helpful.


  2. the general assumption is that if it’s on the net, it must be free, or at lleast if it’s on wiki.It seems music use is even tighter. I met an animator who used some music on his site and within minutes of posting he was issued with a writ. Takes your breath away how they found him so fast.


    • E.K. Carmel says:

      I know – those assumptions are killer! I remember first hearing about this sort of thing in regards to the music industry. See Leah’s comment below about how they have people who’s sole job is to look for unlawful usage. In light of that, I guess it’s not surprising how quickly it happens!


  3. I’ve advised client after client that hotlinking to images in their newsletters doesn’t protect them. Two years ago I helped a client fight a lawsuit from a major photo site. After my digging around, turned out the web designer used copyrighted images without a license to do so. My client was released from responsibility.

    Over the last almost nine years that I’ve worked from home there’s been at least ten times my clients have been contacted about copyright infringement and it’s usually about image use. I continue to advise them against using “free” images but they only listen after the jig is up. 😀

    I’m not sure why people assume everything on the Internet belongs to them. Reading and looking are free; touchin’ will cost ya. The most susceptible are the low-traffic, non-commercial bloggers who think, “Ah, I’m too small. I barely get 10 hits a day. No one will notice.” What bloggers and site owners don’t realize is there are people employed solely to search out potential copyright infringement of their company’s copy, images, videos, etc. That certainly increases the risk of being discovered.

    As writers we should know better; photography is art just like writing. The Internet may seem like another world but it’s merely an extension of our own. Same rules should apply. Would you walk into an art gallery, locate the picture you like most and steal it? Unless you’re Thomas Crown, hopefully not. Same with CDs and books. (Yes, I still buy CDs and print books. LOL)

    It all boils down to this: did you get permission to use the [image, copy, video] from the artist? Permission could be in the form of a note in their blog’s sidebar, a creative commons license, a dollar amount you must pay to purchase a royalty-free or rights-managed license, the requirement to list photo credit with the image, and on and on.

    For the most part I use photos from sites like Flickr where the photographer lists their permissions right beside their photos. About two years ago a colleague discovered Dreamstime offers free images as well as photos you can “buy.” Their prices are affordable and the images are high quality.


  4. I read every rule on the sites and make sure I accredit the picture correctly when I use it on my covers. One site insisted I forward a copy of the finished cover when I used their photo. They even emailed me to say thank you when they received the cover. I asked if they wanted a copy of the ebook, but they declined. 🙂

    Still, I could get it wrong in the future so maybe I should continue to create my own pictures. More work! Oh well, better safe than sorry, as the saying goes.


    • E.K. Carmel says:

      That’s cool that you got such a nice response! I plan to really delve into the art of book covers in the future – your blog posts on that subject have been very helpful.

      I’m sure some people are upset by these “new” rules for photo usage, but I’m glad to have a guideline to work by and not step on anyone’s toes or livelihood!


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