by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
One of the questions I get asked most commonly as an experienced freelance writer is “Which photos can I use in my articles?” There’s much more to it than just doing a search. In fact, doing a search without knowing what to check for could land you in some very hot water if you use the wrong image. I generally recommend using your own images to avoid common issues. However, not everyone is a photographer, so that isn't always possible.
Where should I look?
First, check with the client or site you are submitting to. Some prefer specific sources. Once you know the rules as far as this goes, you can go from there. You can look pretty much anywhere, but the photos need to be licensed for what you intend on using them for and be within the guidelines of where you will be posting them. Many sources offer free stock photos with various licensing rights attached. Some of my favorite sources besides my own images include Flickr and Wikimedia Commons.
How do I know which licensing types to use?
This will depend on your usage of the image, as much as the site as it's going on. If you are using the image for commercial purposes (meaning you will earn in any way from anything the image is used for), you must look for either public domain images or images that can be licensed for commercial use. All images available for use should clearly indicate the licensing type and terms.
What about Google Images and Yahoo! Images?
It may seem that because these two search engines are specifically for finding images that the images found there would be safe to use. But before you use one, stop!! Retrace the image tracks. What do I mean? Check the licensing rights with the source link (hint: Yahoo! and Google Images are not image sources).
I read all this and still have no clue what to do
When in doubt, don't use the image. Ever. If you can't understand whether you can use an image or not, then you should only use your own images. Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense and you'll be better safe than sorry using only images you yourself have created or none at all.
Questions? Experiences to share?
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
(Photo is free to use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes with credit to Lyn Lomasi as the photographer and a link back to this page as the source)
You're browsing the web and you come across a piece of work that looks familiar....wait, that's YOUR work! But you didn't give that website or blog permission to publish it. So, what can you do?
How to Determine a Copyright Violation
First, visit ChillingEffects.org to see if your work is protected and what to do about it. There are resources to report the violations, as well as information on copyright laws as they pertain to the digital world. All content displayed on the web must comply with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). If it does not, you may need to report the violator or send a DMCA takedown request.
Initial Steps To Report a Violator
Secondly, if the blog or site that has violated your copyright is displaying ads by Google, you can report them to Google AdSense. Google will then revoke their access to make AdSense money with your content if they agree the site has violated your copyright. Whether they are using Google or not, you can also do a Whois Lookup and report them to their domain registrar. This may cause them to lose their domain or to take down the violating content.
DMCA Takedown Request Form Letters
Below, I have included examples of form letters that I have used to request action regarding my own content that has been used without my permission. I am not a legal expert, just a writer who has also experienced unpleasant situations in which someone else has published my work without the rights to do so.
Before using these form letters, please be sure to read all of the information provided at ChillingEffects.org, as well as Copyright.gov. If you feel my form letters will suit your needs after studying the copyright law, feel free to use them and edit them as needed for your personal use.
These form letters may not be sold, redistributed, or otherwise published without my permission. However, they can be used for your personal needs as necessary. I make no claims as to the legal validity of said letters. Use your own discretion.
(FORMS ARE BELOW)
Exclusive Form Letter Sample:
Non-Exclusive Form Letter Sample:
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of Brand Shamans & the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, we are your brand healing, soul healing, & content superheroes to the rescue!
Running our network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is our top priority.
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We also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, we’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
We support many causes via our business ventures, such as homelessness, support for trans youth, equality, helping starving artists, and more! A portion of all proceeds from Intent-sive Nature goes toward helping homeless pets in local shelters.
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