I’m cheap. I also love Free Images. Every post on my site has at least one image. Often times there’s a pun involved. In this case it’s a dumb picture of my dog (lucky you). They say it keeps the reader interested, but really I do it mostly for me.
It’s important to always remember Rule #1 of images…
ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED
Everything. Automatically. Copyright is always assumed. Period. Always.
If you took the picture yourself (and did so legally), you automatically have copyright. You don’t need a watermark, you don’t need a fancy © in your footer, just the fact that you took the picture gives you copyright *.
* certain restrictions apply. I.E. You can’t take a picture of something that already has copyright and call it your own.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Do you know those FBI warning labels they show at the beginning of DVDs? It’s not that.
What if I told you that there are people out there who create gorgeous images, just hoping that someone will come along and ‘borrow’ them for their website? What if I told you that these people work with lawyers that specialize in image copyright protection? It’s true! And when they find the image they won’t just send you a ‘cease and desist’, it’ll ALSO include a BILL for a whole lot of money! (like $30,000!)
THEY’LL NEVER FIND ME
So you say. My dog could find you and she has the worst sniffer I’ve ever seen on a dog. Your site may be small and hardly noticeable but there’s something called EXIF Data that is inside every picture. There are Google searches that can be done to find a specific EXIF Data value. Upload a picture to http://exifdata.com/ and you’ll be surprised at what you can track.
Think your smarter? You screen captured the image, cropped out the watermark and changed the colors in photoshop? TinEye is smarter than you.
HERE IS HOW TO FIND IMAGES YOU CAN LEGALLY USE
First of all, don’t go to Google Images. It’s a trap! Even if you use the search by license filter there is no way to know if the image wasn’t previously copyright protected.
Example: I blatantly steal a pic from the front page of the New York Times, post in on my site and slap a Creative Commons License on it. Google pics it up, sees the CC license and when you search – there it is! Almost Legal. (there’s a joke in there somewhere)
The same could be true for images you find in Flickr.
Instead, I like to look in a few places I have a little more trust in.
There’s no dead people that I can find.
Wondering why it’s called that?
A morgueFile is a place to keep post production materials for use of reference, an inactive job file. This morgueFile contains free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use.
The term “morgueFile” is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues flats. Although the term has been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers as well. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits. This is the world wide web’s morgueFile.
The pics are free to use for both commercial and non commercial sites.
There is one caveat. You need to give them credit.
And finally – one of my favorites. Unsplash – who, like their name have a very un-splashy website.
They’ve been adding new pics just like they say for over a year now. No credit needs to be given back – just download and go.
Of course the very best image for you to use is the one you took yourself. Get out there and shoot!