“The picture is out there on the internet, so I can use it, right?”
Before I go any further, I must make note: I cannot and do not provide legal advice regarding copyright infringement and other aspects of copyright law. Please contact a lawyer for such information.
Ok, now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s continue.
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. You might still be doing it. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell. But keep reading.)
Thanks to Google, it is incredibly easy to track down an image to use for just about any purpose. The problem is, those images are not ours and therefore are not ours to use. And if we use them without permission (get it in writing) from the creator, we are in violation of copyright law.
“But they’re right there in Google!”
I know, I know. It stinks. But it’s true.
So what makes an image protected by copyright law?
It just is. Yep, that’s it. Once an image is created, it is protected by copyright law. Therefore, if someone uses it without the creator’s permission, that someone could get sued.
“But it’s not like I have a bunch of followers online. I doubt anybody’s gonna come after me…”
Doesn’t matter. Don’t risk it. If someone comes after you, hopefully it all would stop at a cease and desist notice. However, there are lawyers out there who make a living finding people and suing them for copyright infringement.
“But where will I get pictures for social media??”
Ah, yes. Fear not, my friend. Many websites exist that provide free stock images available for use (without having to seek permission or give attribution):
There are also many sites with stock images available for purchase.
Looking to add to the images? Design programs like Canva are great for adding text, logos, and other elements to images. And inside Canva, you can find images to use for your designs. There are also many apps with the functionality to edit and add to images.
“But that sounds like so much work!”
You’re right. It can be. But so is a lawsuit. [Insert awkward pause.] ????
A way to save time is batching images. Batching simply means making a bunch at the same time that you can pull from when you want (as opposed to creating images as you need them).
Do you have questions about finding images to use online? Leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to reply!