Don't Post that Picture!!! Copyright Infringement and Your Blog
You've just finished drafting another amazing post for your blog. Now all you needs is the perfect picture to top it off because everyone knows a picture is worth a thousand words. You've searched high and low and you've finally found the perfect picture. Right click. Save Image As. Upload. Type up a quick shout out to the website where you found it and violà you're good! Right?
Trust me, you are definitely not alone, and we have all downloaded something from online before, but under the eyes of the law, you may have just committed a crime. How? I'm glad you've asked.
Speaking very generally, almost all of the images you come across online are protected by copyright because copyright vest in an item as soon as it is created. No official registration is required (though official registration provides additional protections and is needed eventually if one wants to pursue a suit against someone). The owner of that copyright has a few exclusive rights, including, but not limited to, the right to publish the work, and the right to sell the work.
If you want to share someone else's creation, you are going to need a license from them, which is basically a fancy way to say their permission. There are now a number of websites that provide stock images and the option to purchase a license. Those pictures and the ones you take with your own camera are your safest options.
But what about FAIR USE? What about my shout out? Don't those protect me? Check out the next post to find out the answers to those questions.