General Question

partyrock's avatar

Will you get into trouble or sued if you use pictures that are not yours on blogs?

Asked by partyrock (3865 points ) January 26th, 2013

Let’s say you want to make a blog…. Can someone sue you if you use a picture that is not your own? For example if you have a “Movie Review” type blog, and you use Google images of that particular movie on your blog post… Can you get in trouble for that? Is that copyright infringement? Is it ok if I leave a reference at the bottom of the post linking the photo to where I found it? Help!

Or let’s say I do a blog about flowers and I use a picture of roses(not my own) that I pulled up from Google search or Yahoo search…. is that copyright infringement? Can I get sued?

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9 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

If you are looking for pictures to use you could check out sites like Creative Commons. You can also do a search for copyright free images. I have used lots of photos where the owners have given permission for them to be used. One person gave permission to use his pictures and just asked for an email letting him know.

Photos from a movie are copyrighted, you could ask permission to use them just to be safe. Once my son’s socceir team wanted to call themselves the Cheetos. I was worried that it might be copyright infringement if I used their logo on the banner. I called their PR department and asked about it. They said it is copyright infringement but there was no way they were going to make anything of it. Either way, always, always cite your sources.

partyrock's avatar

What does Creative Commons do? It’s going to be a movie review blog site, so I’m not sure how I can get permission for those… Let’s say like movie posters for “Argo” or “Lincoln”, etc… I’m not sure how to go about it. If I site source on the bottom of the page linking to where I got the original picture, would it still be infringement for the movie blog?

CWOTUS's avatar

If you’re going to do movie reviews, then it’s “fair use” to use images from the movie to illustrate the criticism. Not that you can go hog wild and repost a pirated version of the movie, or use images that are unrelated to the content of your critique or review. And it’s very unlikely that you’ll get in trouble if you link back to the movie / producer’s website or post their trailer. They pay millions for “promotion” and they’re generally going to be supportive of third-party efforts to help their promotion.

But in general, the age-old rule applies: It is easier to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission.

Copyright and trademark owners know that “they can’t get blood from a stone”. If you have few or no resources, then what can they get from suing you? A judgment with no cash. They aren’t going to spend thousands on legal fees to sue you… for nothing. In any case, the first move they will make if they’re upset is to issue a “demand letter” from their law firm demanding that you remove the offending content “or they will reserve the right to take legal action”.

So if they demand and you refuse, then you might expect follow-up action.

partyrock's avatar

@CWOTUS Thank you!!!

cazzie's avatar

With my very infrequent blogging, the pictures are always given credit if I know where they have come from and more often than not, I will link to that blog or site they are taken from so that the reader can see more info if they want. Usually, the owner of the picture is flattered and happy to be referred to on another blog. You just can not claim them as your own.

I have known people in soap circles and other crafting sites to actually ‘steal’ photos of other people’s work and put them up as their own. I find this highly immoral and stupid. You can watermark your photos if you want. I don’t bother, but I would be rightly pissed off if I found my photos on someone else’s site without giving me due credit.

There are many many sites that offer free stock images and vector art, though, so If you are looking to just add some basic images to a website, just use those.

downtide's avatar

Copyright for movie stills belongs to the producers of the movie, for most other photos it belongs to the photographer. You should credit the owner and link back to their website. A review blog counts as fair use, as does quoting a section of words from a movie, song or book. Very few organisations (Disney being a notable exception) would come after you for it. Some even encourage it (it’s free advertising after all).

I would seriously avoid any Disney-related images though.

I would also avoid using any image whose owner cannot be identified.

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Pachy's avatar

Thanks for sharing the Creative Commons link, @partyrock.

gambitking's avatar

The above answers seem to be pretty accurate. I think you’ll be fine in your scenario, just make sure you credit the sources, its good etiquette anyway!

But I will also note that none of this matters unless it is your own blog on your own website and domain. If you’re using a blogspot blog or similar site, then it’s owned by someone else, and the content is ultimately their responsibility anyway. Your worst consequence in that case would be getting banned.

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