Now what if you don’t actually understand the terms? Answer: If you are in any doubt about how you are allowed to use an image and what is expected of you in return, then contact the image provider by email and ask.
This is not legal advice, it’s just common sense. You may receive an email response stating you can do what you want with an image, if so you must hang on to this email. If at a later date they change their mind, you have evidence that you have made every effort to abide by their terms and no doubt the situation will sort itself out amicably.
If you don’t get an answer or you’re not happy with the answer you do get, then move on and find an image from another source.
Do I Use Free Images?
I found myself spending too much time searching for free images. Ok they are free, but with the amount of time it was taking me to find a free relevant image compared with buying an image for a $1 that I could find in minutes, I decided to opt for the paid images.
Also, if I was expected to give some form of acknowledgement as close to the free image as possible, I would not use it. I prefer my blogs to have white backgrounds and I try to select images that have light or white backgrounds so they can blend in. Having some text underneath, above or near my images just wouldn’t look right.
My other concern is an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) issue. Let’s imagine I have a post which has ten images that I downloaded from a company called “fredsimageshop.com”. To use these images the terms say I have to credit each image to “fredsimageshop.com”. Because the company name is mentioned ten times it makes me wonder if the search engines would see this as a message that I am trying to rank for “fredsimageshop”.
Don’t get me wrong, I think image creators and suppliers deserve credit if they are allowing you to use their image for free. It’s their business and they will hopefully make some sales from an acknowledgement. Having said that I decided to start paying for my images. This way I could avoid the acknowledgement issue and the creator and supplier would earn some money. So everyone’s a winner….or are they?
Imagine my surprise when I checked the license agreement of my first ever paid for image and it stated that a copyright notice must be displayed next to the image. Surely this must be wrong, I mean I paid for a licensed image to avoid this!
I set up a live chat with the company to clarify this situation and was informed I did have to display a copyright notice next to the image. We got into a conversation and after expressing my concerns it was agreed that I could display my copyright notice at the bottom of the page. I had the chat transcript emailed to me which I will keep for future reference.
The company I was dealing with was Depositphotos. This post includes one of their images and you can see the copyright notice I have to display at the bottom of the post. I really appreciate the fact that they have allowed me to place the copyright at the bottom of the post, however, I have decided to use up my credits with them and not buy any more.
So What Have I Learned From This?
If you use someone else’s image, stick to the terms that come with the image.
If you’re unsure of the terms you must ask for clarification.
This last point is a reminder to me: Read the terms before paying for images.
After you have sourced an image, before you upload it to your site you may need to reduce the image file size. I have explained why in this post: Why You Should Reduce Your Image File Size.
Photo © Depositphotos.com/Alexander Kharchenko