7/22/12

Finding Free and Legal Images for Your Blog


Burning Candle image by Nara Malone

Recent trouble for authors over the use of images for blogging has everyone taking a second look at their images. Don't panic. You don't need to delete your Pinterest account or have a plain text blog. You should ensure that the content you're sharing is legally licensed for you to use. If it's not, there are places to get free, beautiful images.

Images on your blog:

The Creative Commons Search engine is my favorite tool for finding free content to use in my blog posts. I usually click the box that says search for content that can be used for commercial use. Even though I'm not selling anything with my blog posts, if I use content licensed for commercial use I'm covered on all angles. I stick with image searches at Flickr or Wikimedia Commons because the license is right on the image page for me to verify. I particularly like Flicker because they make it so easy to copy the code to paste right in the blog with everything linked and credited.

Another simple way to get content is to make your own images.  You see a lot of avatar art on my blog because it's easy for me to make, and I hold license to it, so I can use it how I like.  It serves double duty in that images and video I capture when I'm in a virtual world can be used in trailers and other promotional material. Feel free to take all the pictures and video you want in any of my virtual worlds. You can get to them by clicking the Nara's World tab in my navigation bar. I'll look into a way to share my virtual world art for reuse, probably through my Deviant Art account.

There's always your own camera. Think about contributing content with a CC license when you do take photos and post them online. The more we all contribute to the community pool of images, the better the selection will be. Just be sure that if you post or share an image with a recognizable person, that you have the subject's permission to use it.

Images on Pinterest: 

The safest images to post are ones you took or made yourself.  Many of the images on my Pinterest boards fall into that category.

Sites like Deviant Art, where many artists have tools that make it easy for you to share their posts on Pinterest or provide embed tools to share on your blog (as below), are another safe bet.


Firebird by ~Tanathiel on deviantART

If you see an image with no share tool, even if that same artist has shared everything else in their portfolio, don't share it.

You can install a Pinterest share button in your browser and share content from websites that way, but I think that's where everyone gets into trouble. It's fine to share content from your blog that way, but for anything else you need permission.

What about re-pins? That's a good question. I had assumed everyone was sharing legal content, so I know I have to go back through re-pins and follow all those links to the original sites. If there are no share buttons or CC licenses in plain view, that content, no matter how yummy, is going to have to come down. Fore future re-pins, check the originating site before you pin them.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting about the search engine. I've never heard of this one. This whole thing is a bit of a mess but we have to figure out a way to deal.

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  2. Thanks for the tips - I feel pretty ignorant about all of this stuff, and this will help me from making a stupid mistake.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.