Part 08: Where Can I Get Pictures & Videos For My Blog?
Using images on the Internet is actually a legal minefield. I am not a lawyer so clearly I can not offer any type of legal advice. What you find written below is simply my interpretation of the benefits of using images and videos on your website.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. To help make your website look great, and to make it more friendly for your readers, then by adding pictures, you can help break up written text and also make your article look a lot more attractive.
Likewise by adding video, you then create three types of useful content, text, images and videos. We have already discussed the importance of written conten and in this article we look at where you can get images and videos.
The simplest method of all is to use your own work. Taking pictures used to take a lot of work but these days with the arrival of digital cameras and smart phones, taking pictures is both fast and simple.
It is easy to take a few pictures of whatever topic it is we are writing about and then download them to a computer, or upload them from a smart phone. If you own and publish your own images then there is little risk of infringing any copyright laws. You own them and you can do what you like with them.
In my case study for example it is not difficult to use my phone to take some images of coffee beans, ground coffee, instant coffee, the two coffee machines I own, the two grinders that I own and quickly collect a number of good images.
Likewise most smart phones can also make videos so again not that hard to make a video and talk about any coffee related product.
Even with your own images you still need to be careful. As an example, if I took a photo of a coffee shop, and there was a person in that photograph who could be identified in that shot, then certain restrictions will apply. You can not misrepresent that person in any way. This is a complex area and if in doubt always seek legal advice.
Use Free Images from the Internet
Please note you can not simply find an image on the Internet and use it. In fact you could find yourself in serious trouble if you do. Some website owners have found themselves in serious trouble by just grabbing and using other people’s photographs.
The general rule is that a “Copyright” is a form of legal protection that is automatically assigned to content creators at the moment of creation. So the second you take a photograph, you own the copyright to it. It is the same for anyone who takes an image in that they automatically own all the rights to it.
You don’t have to fill in a form or add a legal notice to own the image and you can also choose to amend or sell that image.
That is how many professional photographers make money, by simply selling the rights to their work. That also means that no one else is allowed to use your work without your permission.
Many people assume that if content is online that it is “public domain” and that it’s not copyrighted. That’s just a myth. It is also why it is always best to use your own images as there is no question as to who owns the rights to it.
Websites with Free Images
There are a few websites with what are called “free images” but always read their terms and conditions.
Morguefile is one such website but please read the instructions about each image before using. The licenses vary but in most cases all you have to do is provide a link back to the site to use any of the images.
Pixabay is a very popular choice to use as well. This is a place where contributors share their images. Again, licenses do vary but here many of the images are listed as “Public Domain”, which means that you can use them without attribution.
The bottom line is that using these still holds a certain risk, which is why I prefer to use my own generic style images.
Buy Stock Photographs
If you can’t or do not want to use your own images then it is possible to buy high quality stock photographs online and use those for commercial purposes. Now of course there is a charge for doing this but then you remove the risk of falling foul of copyright images.
If you search online for stock images you will find many websites where you can buy these and then use them for commercial purposes. As before you still need to read carefully any licensing for that image.
You will find many photographers on the High Street and also many keen amateur photographers. It is also possible to have a conversation with one of them and agree some type of photo shoot. You do however have to be very clear with them as to what the images will be used for.
Using Video On your Website
As with images we once again move into the legal world of copyright issues. As I am not a legal person, you should always seek legal advice if in any doubt.
Making Your Own Videos
As with your own images if you make a video then you own it and can do what you like with it as there are no restrictions. Many people will post their videos on YouTube which is of course owned by Google.
Can You Use youTube Videos on Your Website?
This remains a grey area and various lawsuits have been issued. One thing is pretty clear is that the areas of music and film appear to cause the most concern.
When someone publishes a video on YouTube they have the option to decide if that video is allowed to be shared. So if you see a share button that allows you to create an embed code and place it on another website, in theory, that is deemed as permission haven been given.
However some people who post videos appear to be unclear that this share option is about giving permission and so confusion does remain.
The simplest way to get around this is to make your own videos. With a smart phone or even a video camera this is not a difficult thing to do.
As you can see this is a complex area and certainly a very legal area. As I am not a lawyer I can not offer any advice. In my own experience I find it simpler and easier to use my own photos and also do my own videos.
Neither of these is complicated to do and you avoid any risk of copyright issues. The important thing is that images and videos do a fantastic job of making your articles look great and more interesting to your readers.
I always include them on my websites. If I want to use a YouTube video I send the owner an email and almost all of the owners have said yes.
For the really important pages on my website where I want to have an image with people in it, I just spend a few pounds and buy some high quality stock images.