Copy Right Laws and the Risks of Posting other Peoples Photos

In this post I will answer the following questions and more.
-What are the laws?
-What pictures are protected by copyright laws?
-What are fair use pictures?
-What are the consequences of Re-posting someone else Photos

Being a blogger we all as a community write about any and everything, and more than likely learn from each other. When I myself started I learned from my wife and friends on what I could and could not do. Here are some mistakes that they have done and went through and what could happen to you.

Every day we see post with picture on them, some posted by the owners and some not.
-Some with sources and credits and some not.

3 weeks ago my friend who writes about buildings in city life got a letter from the Photographer of a picture he had used on his blog. That he had found on Google image in the search menu. The Photographer was less than happy to see her work on his page without her permission and told him to take it down now. Which is did in right after reading her email. But it doesn’t end there. She later went on to Sue him for damages for the posting of her work. He is still in the middle of this legal matter and this is what he has learned. When he told me this, my jaw just dropped and I myself started going through my own blog with a fine tooth comb making sure I wasn’t breaking any laws without knowing.

Here is what we learned from this

-It doesn’t matter if you site or source the photo
-didn’t know what you was doing was wrong
-that you didn’t make money off of it
-that you didn’t clam the photo as your own
-if you have a disclaimer on your blog
-Or if you have taken down the photo after the photographer asked you

Basically if you did not get permission from the Photographer themselves, to use their work. You are in the wrong and can get Sued. You have to have ether permission to from the source to use their work or get it from a copyright free/public domain site. Having someone else photos on your blog without permission is basically having a ticking time-bomb ready to blow at any giving time.

I know as bloggers we see other bloggers using others peoples photos every day and think itโ€™s okay because “everyone else is doing it, can’t be wrong!” but it is. Not only that itโ€™s not worth getting Sued over. Photographers make their living off of their photos and have it pretty rough. Most photographers would gladly let us use some of the photos if we just ask. Itโ€™s the not asking part that angers them the most and I get why. To use we may see it as giving free advertising for the photographer but if that photographer already sold the right to that photo you are using, it comes back at them for the damages sometimes.

Even more scary are the companies using these laws for profit by purposely buying rights to photos and hopes that someone else using them so they can Sue them. They have high price lawyers and the law on their side and they will win.

51 thoughts on “Copy Right Laws and the Risks of Posting other Peoples Photos

  1. The ones that annoy me the most are using other people’s photographs to illustrate their writing to draw readers via the photo. The other ones that I can’t stand have no original material on their blog at all and simply collect photographs that they like. Why do they have to blog those?

    My blog is 100% original photography, lots of it gets stolen.

    1. Ron Scuba – So glad I found your comment on here. You seem to be much more experienced than I am with these issues. I have my first pubished work coming out this week, and an exhibition in the works, so I’m beginning to become more concerned about income and intellectual property rights. Beginners like me have a lot to learn from people like you. Always pleased to see your work, your comments, and your “likes.”
      On my Way…

  2. Thanks for the info. I use all my own work, so the being sued and citations is none of my concern, but being a beginner in the photography biz, with my first published work coming out and my first exhibition in the works, others using my images is my biz. Thanks again, from someone who knows little but learned something today.
    On my Way…

  3. And sometimes, it’s just really hard to track down who the original photographer was since the same picture has been used in so many sites already.

  4. The person posting original work should understand there are ways to disable direct copying of their work. Unfortunately the bottom line is if they don’t want their work copied then they should not put it online.


  5. Great info! It’s easy for people, like with a few shots of neat Scotch, to lose their inhibitions regarding right and wrong, especially on the net. Theft is theft, and asking and getting written permission is always the best policy. Some would rationalize the crime by saying, “well they shouldn’t put it online if they don’t want it used”; That is inane — People shouldn’t leave their cars unattended if they don’t want them stolen, too ๐Ÿ™‚ Fantastic post.

    1. LOL I love your line “People shouldnโ€™t leave their cars unattended if they donโ€™t want them stolen, too” but yes people tend to forget to put their self in others peoples shoes.

  6. Good post and information – and Ishaiya’s link is useful too. (for people in the UK / using images from the UK).
    It’s also probably worth noting that when you post any of your own photo’s on the net using host websites such as wordpress, google, flickr, tumblr, Yahoo etc ( and possibly any stored via the ‘cloud’) that you automatically grant the site world wide royalty free rights to use and publish the image in any way they want.

    I think it would then be very problematic if someone subsequently copies an image published on said site and accessed via google or similar for the author to claim their image was used illegally as it is able to be viewed by anyone in the public domain.

    basically if you want to be sure of retaining copyright don’t let your image be made available on the world wide web without a watermark showing you as copyright holder.

    Watermarks are easy to ad to ‘public’ photo’s with most digital imaging programs.and would go a long way to solving the problem ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. It’s a matter of respect it seems to me. Attribution and a link back would be the minimum one could do. Most Pros digitally mark their work and are now able to track it on the Net.
    These days I just don’t post anything that I don’t shoot.
    And If I post something myself, I give it away for attribution.
    In reality today, it might be more lucrative for a Pro to sue someone than to sell their work.

  8. OMG! Thank you… I usually use other people’s photos, but always specify that I did not take the pics… From now on, I will not use anyone’s photo without permission…

  9. Thank you for sharing this information. We work hard and it is always nice to have our work recognzied. Just starting out on my blog, once again this issue causes me to rethink whether I should continue.

  10. I was just discussing this very topic with my husband this morning. He’s a photographer and I’m an artist. I’m also a writer. I use my own artwork, his photography, or purchased stock for all of my blog posts.

    But I also see many of the blogs I follow using images that aren’t their own and they don’t even give credit or share a link to the creator.

    Many artists and photographers are willing to allow use of their work for noncommercial purposes… if people ASK permission and don’t alter the photo/art. Ask first, folks!

    Thanks for your post. People need to see it. Mind if I reblog?

    1. Thank you so much for the support and I as a new blogger have made some mistakes too but not to continue making them I changed. Oh and by all means reblog it ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. thanks for posting ive been wondering about this area when i see people reposting and some have reposted my work. i’ve only every reblogged someones photo once when they started out and gave full credit plus told them. all other photos are my own. i didn’t read the fine print enough when i started and didn’t know posting on WordPress gave them absolute royalties to them (re Bob’s comment).
    i’m a little confused as then he says if you have a watermark that marks it as yours – wouldn’t the water mark be ineffective to WordPress given the original arrangement and only apply to ‘outsiders’? i’ve never had a problem with wordpress bloggers reblogging my pics but have been thinking about a watermark for some photos i really like.

    1. By law the one who took the photo is protected and will have ownership unless they give away or sell the rights. Watermarks are really are added warning for people not to take someone else work as their own.

  12. So is the photo on this post a trap? May I reblog this information? I have found that if I reblog something, I cannot edit it. Not even to remove an illustration.

  13. Reblogged this on Points of View and commented:
    As a lawyer who practices in the area of copyright law, I am reblogging this post as a reminder that it is a very bad idea to take intellectual property of someone else without their permission.

  14. As a lawyer who practices in the area of copyright law, I rebloggied this post as a reminder that it is a very bad idea to take intellectual property of someone else without their permission.

  15. wow this is really informative as now I have my own pics always but before to give an article a good feel I did use reference pics with link on it ..but I think I should better remove them now..thanks a lot for sharing this dear ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. This is really very informative. I have always consciously posted my own pics in my articles and i am glad that now, i am able to take good pics with my camera for my articles….

  17. I do not even know the way I ended up here, however I
    thought this put up was great. I do not understand who you’re but definitely
    you’re going to a famous blogger if you happen to aren’t already.

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