Tips for Using Google Images Legally

Whether it’s a blog post, social media post, presentation or any other form of media, images are a bit part of making something eye-catching and esthetically pleasing. Not a graphic designer? Then you’re probably most likely going to look for an image online to use, and you’re probably considering using google images to get source your content. 

With the ability to pull an image from essentially anywhere on the web, it may seem easy to just grab something you like and use it. However, it’s important to keep in mind copyrights and the legality of what you are doing.

In order to avoid fines or worse, you need to make sure that the images you are using are used ethically and within the rules of content copyright. Here are some tips to help you navigate the world of online images and how to use Google images legally.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • Why it’s important to use online images legally
  • 5 tips for using Google images legally
  • Key Takeaways for Google Images

Why it’s important to use online images legally

Before using any image online (photo, illustration, etc.) it is important that you understand its copyright status. If you breach any copyright, even by accident, there can be serious consequences that may include hefty fines and legal fees or even jail time!

So, don’t put yourself at risk! Here are some tips to help you use images online legally.

5 tips for using Google images legally

1. Create your own images
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The best and most fool-proof way to ensure you are not infringing any copyrights is to create your own content entirely. Develop your own images and take your own pictures to ensure that you have full rights to the use of the image.

Keep in mind – if there is someone in your images you should always get their consent to disseminate their photo. Also keep in mind – if you are taking or making images on company time the company may have the rights to these images, not you. Additionally, pulling images off the internet and making changes to them does not automatically make them your own.

Free banner and graphics creating site canva is great for all of your image-creating needs as long as you don’t mind putting some work in yourself.

2. Link to the image

Rather than outright copy and pasting an image, if you’re unsure of whether or not you can use the image, it is always best to just link to the image at its source. This way you are not directly using the image and are giving credit to the owner.

3. Check out the Creative Commons

What are Creative Commons, you might ask? A Creative Commons license is an agreement provided by a content creator to allow their work to be used by others.

Each Creative Commons license may specify different terms, meaning that an image that is under a Creative Commons license can be used by you but that you will need to examine the details of its terms of use. For example, the creator may require attribution or a link to their work, they may allow for commercial use or may not allow commercial use and they may allow for changes to be made to their work or not. Be sure to read the fine print so that you can make sure you are using the image appropriately and under the correct conditions.

4. Purchase the image
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Many sites provide stock photos and videos that can be purchased from their creators. Both Adobe Stock and Shutterstock are well-known stock photo sites.

When purchasing images it is important you read the terms of use. Not all licenses will allow for the same types of use so be sure to check the terms and conditions before purchasing and to follow those conditions when using the image!

5. Ask for permission from the owner

If you see an image online that you’d like to use, it never hurts to ask! Many people will be happy to let you use their creative content, especially when credit is given.

If you do receive permission from the content creator, just make sure that they actually have the right to grant you use of the image. Be sure to get written documentation that the person granting you permission to use the image is in fact the owner and that they have the copyright to the image.

Social media content can be particularly tricky. When in doubt, it is always best to ask for permission from the content creator.

When using an image that does not belong to you online, always be sure to research the image’s copyright license. Be diligent with licensing agreements and you will be able to protect yourself from the repercussions of copyright infringement.

Legal advice is always your best bet. This information is not intended to be viewed as or to take the place of proper legal advice. When in doubt about an image that you would like to use, please seek professional legal advice.

Key Takeaways On How to Do Flat Lay Photography 

Images are an important part of digital content. While the legal aspect of using an image that is not yours may seem scary, there are many options available to help you use images online legally.

The 5 best options for using Google images legally include:

  • Creating your own images
  • Linking to an image, rather than copy and pasting it
  • Using images that have a Creative Commons license
  • Purchasing an image from a stock photo site
  • Asking the owner for permission

Always be sure to read any contract and fine print in full in order to adhere to usage restrictions. In addition, always make sure that someone who is giving you permission to use an image has the right to do so.

You’re now ready to get started with creating some awesome content! Just stick to the rules and you’ll have nothing to worry about!

Thea Christie

Written By Thea Christie

Thea is the Content Marketing Lead at Advesa and possesses a strange love of grammar, syntax and punctuation. In the past, she’s worked as a content specialist for publications in the startup, SME and tech space. When she’s not storytelling, she’s busy being a travel junkie. @theachristie