A frequent question I’ve been asked lately is “can I use images off the Internet in my social media feeds or is that copyright infringement?”. Of course the answer is always “it depends” so let’s talk about the best ways to use found images on your blogs, website, or social networks.
The best way to share any content, no matter what media type, is to keep the original source link with the content. It’s all about promoting someone else’s content and showing yourself or your brand as an expert curator on a topic, rather than claiming that content as your own.
For example, below is a YouTube playlist we created to showcase content marketing we think is clever. The videos are streaming from their original channels, but through a playlist we created on our channel and have embedded here:
This means that whenever someone watches a video in our playlist, the views will be noted on the original source video and the user can easily click through to the channel where it’s streaming from.
You can do this with images, as well. Below I’ve just inserted an image into this blog using the “Insert From URL” option in the “Add Media” dialogue box, plus I made the image a link to the article where I found the image. To be even more copyright friendly, I’ve added a caption stating the name of the article. The only trouble with this method, is if that if the host ever changes the link, the image below will no longer be displayed.
Here’s an example from social media – we tweeted someone’s Vine and the video maintains the original username and when clicked on, takes you to the Vine owner’s channel.
There will be some cases where you might want to create your own graphics, perhaps by creating an inspirational quote or a holiday card. In those cases, if you don’t have original photography or illustrations to use, you’ll need to obtain the license to use someone else’s imagery.
I recommend purchasing stock images or looking for Creative Commons images.
Creative Commons has a variety of licensing options, and you can search for free images that you can use at this link: http://search.creativecommons.org/. The thing is that with most of the CC licenses, you need to credit the owner, so you may need to provide a caption with the artist’s name and potentially link to their site.
Be sure to look for the license and then click through to see what’s involved in using the image. In this example, the license says “Some rights reserved”.
When I clicked on “Some rights reserved”, I received instructions on how I could use that image:
Here’s how I could use that image:
If you don’t want to credit the image owner and want to “white label” the image or claim it as your own, you want a non-attribution license which comes with a fee. I recommend the following stock image sites where you can purchase the license to use the images as your own:
I hope that helps and please let us know if you have any questions about creating content for your brand!
~ Christina, Owner & Strategist at Antenna Social Media & Design
Please note: I’m not a lawyer and I recommend consulting with someone who focuses in copyright law if you have any doubts about the content you are posting.