So you have an idea to share on social media and now you need an image. So you go to Google and search for an image. You save it to your computer and use it on your post.
YOU HAVE JUST BROKEN THE LAW!!!
There are many cases of people being sued over copyright infringement. I know someone personally who had an image on her website, placed there by the web developer, that was used without permission and she was in some legal trouble over it.
According to www.copyrightuser.org,
You cannot download or use images from Google without seeking permission from the copyright holder, unless your use falls within one of the exceptions or the work is distributed under an open licence such as Creative Commons. Google is simply a search engine that scans the internet and provides the searcher with any relevant results – copyright holders do not upload their images to Google for free use. If you click on the image you are usually guided to the source website where you might be able to contact the copyright holder for permission. Google Image also offers a tool to filter your search results by usage rights.
So where can you get FREE images that you can use?
My favorite 2 tools are Canva and Pixabay.
Canva is an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere. With Canva, you would generally use the images in the Canva tool itself, but you could add the image to your design and download it.
Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images, videos and music. All contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist - even for commercial purposes. From Pixabay you can download the images on your computer for your use.
I am not an attorney and am not providing legal advice. Please do your due diligence to ensure you are complying with all laws.
Jennifer McArdle is the owner and founder of McArdle Media.