Blogging, Image Copyrights and You

This scene happens every day all over the internet. A blogger comes up with a great topic, writes their blog post, then hops on over to Google Images to find that perfect photo to add to the post.  But did you know that grabbing a random image off the internet can end up costing you big bucks if the image is copyrighted?  Google Images is a great way to find a certain photo or graphic, but the vast majority of these photos are owned by someone and not available for use by others.  At best you may get away with using the image and no one knowing. At worst, you can find yourself contacted by a lawyer informing you that you now owe their client upwards of a $1,000 for stealing a copyrighted image!

Using random images from the internet is not something to be taken lightly. Owners of the image can and will legally demand payment for use of those images. So what can you as a blogger do to make sure that you don’t end up as an “image thief?”

There are sites available where you can find just about any image you need, and allow you to use them within certain restrictions. Some websites are pay sites, which may charge you a monthly fee to download from their image archive, and some which charge by the image. Be sure to read the Terms, as some images may be a one time purchase, and some may have an expiration date on their length of use. If you have a limited image on your blog and it expires, don’t be surprised if you are contacted to pay to continue its use or be requested to remove the image.

There are also websites that host totally free images. Some have restrictions for personal use only, and some allow business use.  Some images may also require the user to link back to the website you downloaded it from, or may require you to state somewhere on your blog or site who owns the copyright to the image.

Always be sure to read the fine print and look over the Terms and Conditions of the websites where you find any images you plan to use.


Shutterstock.com – One of the best and most popular of the stock image sites. Images are not free, but are affordable. Currently the site is offering a free 10 image, one month trial. Once the trial is up, it is only $29 for the year to get up to 10 images per month.

scx.hu (formerly stock.xchg) – Lots of great FREE stock photos available here.  *Please Note: when searching for a particular subject, make sure the photo you download is under the “Results for “XXXX” on SXC.hu” heading. Some of the results are Premium photos from iStockphotos.com and they are NOT free for use.

iStockphoto.com – A great premium stock photo site with a very large collection of high quality photos.  Prices depend on quality and size. You can pay for your purchases individually or buy credits to use toward purchasing images.

Gettyimages.com – Purchase stock photos, royalty free photos, videos, and music to use on your blog or site.

There are many other great sites on the web to find free images to use on your blog. But always remember to read ALL the fine print, the Terms for using any images, and follow the rules.

Article originally published on February 25, 2013. Links and info updated for August 2, 2021.
Copyright 2013, 2021 Lily Plasse. All rights reserved.

Published by Lily M. Plasse

Virtual Assisting, Small Business Services, Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, Writing, Editing and Proofreading.

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