Newbie Questions About Copyright and Images

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First post here. I'm new to creating web sites and I just discovered yesterday about the whole getty images suing bloggers and web sites for not licensing their photos thing. I have some questions and I figured I'd ask this place since you guys know your stuff.

1. Is editing the photo enough to make it your own? Right now I wanted to create featured images for posts using Canva so I take copyrighted photos, crop them, add a filter, make them part of a larger image involving other photos and save it as its own separate image. Would they still come after you for this or is it now an “original” image?
2. How do I know if an image is copyrighted or not? Some pics I find on google images and there's no copyright notice on them. I even reverse google search the image and find tons of web sites using them with no credit given so can I assume they're safe to use?
3. Do sites really pay for these images? Free stock photos are fine for generic images but what about pics of famous people? My site was going to use a lot of athlete/celebrity/musician pics (no not a tabloid) but pretty much every one one of these is copyrighted. How do these sites with thousands of pictures of celebrity hairstyles or fashion bloggers/sports bloggers find these pics to use? I'm assuming they aren't paying hundreds of dollars a month on stock photo subscriptions (are they?)

I understand photographers own their work but damn the prices for some of these pics don't even make sense for anyone not on CNN / ESPN level.
 

Ryuzaki

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1) No, editing an image doesn't make it yours. It will keep spiders from finding your version and comparing it to the original, to some degree. It's still risky.

2) Assume that all images are copyrighted. At the least, they are likely licensed to be used as stock photos, which requires you to pay some handlers a fee, who then pay the photographer or graphic designer.

3) Yeah, sites do. The bigger of a site you are, the more of a target you become for some photographer or journalist wanting some money because you used their photo. Some sites have photographers on staff, pay journalists, pay for stock photos, or take their own pics.

Your best bet is to always try to find out who the original was and quote them as a source. Not even necessarily linking to them, but just text. Just don't steal from Getty Images, they are gung-ho about going after people. Most people reasonably know that once a photo is online, it's fair game. But if your business is printing money and profiting from someone else's work, don't be surprised if they expect some money in return.

Would I worry about it if I was you? Not really. If you get a takedown notice, just take the pic down and replace it. That's likely horrible advice, but it's reality based. No, not everyone is paying for pics, referencing the original author, etc.
 
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Thanks for the reply Ryuzaki. I was doing some research on image licenses and found that some can be used for free as long as its "non-commercial." Does this mean if your web site is monetized these pics are off limits or is it only if you're directly using them to promote a product or something? I don't really understand what commercial use is defined as and googling around hasn't helped me out much. If anyone has any insight please let me know.
 
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when you do a google image search click the advanced search then scroll to the bottom and set the licens to fre to use and modify for personal and commercial and then you should be relatively safe
 
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when you do a google image search click the advanced search then scroll to the bottom and set the licens to fre to use and modify for personal and commercial and then you should be relatively safe
That works but you usually end up with off topic images and a considerably reduced number of images. I guess better than nothing.
 
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That works but you usually end up with off topic images and a considerably reduced number of images. I guess better than nothing.
Yeah that is the problem using this method, when I use it I always make sure to do a very broad niche related search.

Another tactic, would be to find and use pictures that has been uploaded to facebook, since the facebook TOS states that you can NOT claim copywrigt or legal ownership on anything that is uploaded to facebook, I havent heard of anybody having troubles doing this, but it is in sort of a legal greyzone, due to the fact that anybody can upload other peoples copywrighted material, and the original copywright holder could then still make claims, in that case I would suggest removing the picture from your site and inform the copywright owner that you found the image on facebook and that you are not aware of how it ended up there and then refrence the facebook TOS.
 
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I usually assume that all images found on the Internet are copyrighted unless otherwise stated. If you really want an image, you would probably need to email the person asking for their permission to use it. I've used Flickr.com in the past for various websites I've freelanced for to find good pictures that have a limited copyright restrictions (i.e. all you have to do is give them credit). Try Flickr and see if that'll work. It gives you the option to look for non-copyright images only.
 
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Si it is safe to assume that for starters it is a good practice to put just a reference to source of image?

And when you get a lot of traffic - buy it?
 

emp

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Holy shit.

Guys.
Referencing the source for a COPYRIGHTED image just opens you up to a nice fat lawsuit.
YOu openly admit that you KNOW where you got it from.

Use open source image repositories.

Here is a list: (mine)

http://blindapeseo.com/ultimate-list-of-free-image-sources

Get familiar with what the CC licenses mean

For example:
CC/BY means you should still reference the source.

::emp::
 
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Forget the fear mongering. Just use what you want and need until you get a takedown notice, then take it down and replace it with something else.

I've used at least a million images on the internet, stock photo's, photographer photos and more. Nobody gives a shit. They are making pennies per license. They don't care to chase down people using them "illegally". They just hope someone pays. All of the emails and lawsuits going out are automated. Your job is to not reply to them and notify the bots that you're scared.
 

Golan

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All of the emails and lawsuits going out are automated. Your job is to not reply to them and notify the bots that you're scared.
From poor photographers, ma be. But not from hungry lawyers who are working for Getty in different countries.
 

emp

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Getty will really mess you up.

And I just got contacted by a photographer who chased down his picture. An honest mistake on my side.

Let's not be assholes about it.
There is so many sources for free images, no need to screw some guy trying to make some money.

::emp::
 
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@emp, do you track in any way the source of images you use on your sites? I mean, is it worth having a record of where the particular image is taken from, you know, just in case...
 
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Give proper credits to the owner like giving

source: www.their-website.com

When you doing like this method, this is called content curation not copyrighted things..So use this advantage instead of editing, cheating, etc.,
 
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I've doubts about this as well.

After reading some threads on BHW and WF, I get that most peoples just use morguefile and pixabay to get most of their images. Probably safer options than flikr, I've read that someone use images from flikr and quote the source but still get sued from getty images. You never know if the person who posts on flikr owned the copyright to the images or not.
 

Ryuzaki

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So, one of the first pieces of content I published on my big site over a year ago... I ganked an image from THE guy in the sub-niche of this industry and gave him credit under the pic. Then I also gave him a link in the content and said he was "THE guy."

Fast forward to today and I wake up and he's emailed me. I took a graph of his and took out his product name and generalized it. He wanted credit for it and for me to un-generalize it.

I responded, sucked him up a little bit, told him I'd make sure he got the respect and credit he deserved for his work, and I appreciated his contributions to the industry over the past decades.

He emails me back and says "I hope I didn't sound rude or angry, blah blah. Take your time, and thanks. Let me know if you ever need any help with this stuff."

BOOM.

Not only did I steal his picture but when he reached out to complain, I killed him with kindness and now have built a relationship where I could hit him up for an interview or something. You know he'd turn around and link to it and promote it on social and forums.

This is what I'm talking about. Don't be completely stupid, but definitely keep moving forward and just confront the situation WHEN it arises, not years before. Most of the time, you take it down, change it, or it turns out to work in your favor.

What else it means is that I'm making enough impact in my vertical that the top dog of a sub-niche is reading my site close enough to find one of the old articles that had one of his pics in it. He's not looking at his backlinks or anything either. Just make progress and jump the hurdles as they come. Don't worry about the one 10 miles down the road when there's a few right in front of you.
 
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If you are concerned about copyright issues just get "free" images for the sites below. There are many more but those will get you started (always read their copyright policy at least to be aware).
Wikimedia.com
deathtothestockphoto.com
photopin.com (free stock photo search engine)
 
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Here's a list of sites where they have royalty-free images. Please note that just because it's free, it doesn't mean you may freely edit and or distribute it, depending on the license. I'd suggest starting here to learn about how licenses work (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/).

Here's the sites I use for free images (some of the pages have repeats):
https://pixabay.com/ (probably my favorite one)
http://www.cision.com/us/2016/05/52-sites-to-get-free-images-for-your-content/
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/...ooks-from-the-metropolitan-museum-of-art.html
http://www.openculture.com/2016/01/...s-you-download-180000-images-in-high-res.html
http://blog.templatetoaster.com/16-websites-get-free-images

Hope this helps.
 
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All good links above. Here's one that I've been using for building a new site. It's fairly limited in variety, but very high quality, and doesn't feel stock.

It's also Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license
. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose. But don't portray identifiable hipsters- er I mean people, in bad light.

https://www.pexels.com/