Images are the lifeblood of a blog. Without good pictures, it’s difficult to keep readers engaged. But, how do you get good images for all those posts? Most bloggers whip open Google Images, type in a few search terms and save a picture to their blog. But is that image copyrighted? Copyright laws are one of those complex and tricky issues and it’s difficult to understand which images are copyrighted and which are not on the Internet. When you find an image, do you have a right to use it? What happens if the owner sees it on your blog and you find yourself with a cease and desist order?
Of course, the chances of that happening are small, but why not stay on the safe side of things? A solution? Creative Commons, an organization committed to helping companies and individuals navigate the complex issues surrounding copyrighted material. Legal jargon aside, for all practical purposes it’s a portal to find images that should keep you on the safe side of copyright laws.
To get started with Creative Commons, simply go to: http://search.creativecommons.org/. I find myself using this service so much, especially as an educator trying to teach my students good web skills, that I bookmark it in my Symbaloo for regular use.
At first glance, Creative Commons is a stripped down search engine. Let’s say you’re trying to find a picture of clown fish. Simply type in the term clown fish into the search bar.
Now, you have some options. First, there are two check boxes under the search bar. These are important depending on what you want to do.
- If you’re just looking for an image to put in your blog post and you’re not going to do anything to it, don’t check anything.
- If you plan on changing the image somehow (editing it, adding text, etc), check the modify, adapt or build upon option.
- Checking this box will limit your search to images that have been clearly designated for that purpose, but it will keep you legit.
- If you want to use the image on a commercial site (your Etsy site or to promote a product), check this box.