Be Mindful of Copyright when Using Photos
When I was in the sixth grade, my class started to get assigned weekly history reports. They were largely opinion based and were no more than a double-spaced page at best. A couple weeks into doing the reports, the class started to get bored and proclaimed to our teacher that the work they were doing was “unnecessary”. That is when one student decided that the papers were necessary to do, but not necessary for her to do. She googled the topic, copy and pasted an article, and changed the pronouns to fit herself. A week later, the class got introduced to the definition of plagiarism.
Plagiarism applies to both written work and photos. It is not very hard to go straight to Google to grab a picture for your website. It becomes easy to forget that copying a photo without credit is no different than what the young girl in my sixth grade class did.
However, there are a set of rules that allow you to either copy a photo or require you to credit it. The most common three are Creative Commons (CC), attribution- noderivs (CC BY-ND), and attribution- noncommercial- noderivs (CC BY-NC-ND). Creative Commons allows you to copy or edit someone’s work without a requirement to credit them. Attribution- Noderivs allows for a distribution of a product with credit to the creator. Attribution- Noncommercial- Noderivs is the strictest of all which allows no alterations to the original work, only credit to the author. Now, if these are as confusing to you as it was to me, check out the Common’s Deed (a readable document stating all the laws) but just in case here is a recap:
- Make sure you attribute the correct author of a piece.
- Read the license agreements on paid and free stock photo sites.
- Check to make sure restrictions of publishing do not apply (web or print).
- Check for all types of attribute symbols.
- Always check with another source to confirm a product’s attribution.
- Assume photos from websites and Google are free.
- Use clip art or images from Microsoft (or any similar program) without checking the license first.
- Edit, paste, clip, crop or change an image for this still violates copyright (altering previous work does not constitute the new product as original).
Now if these rules may not seem applicable to your business; remember that not crediting a photo can cost you upwards of three thousand dollars. So don’t take the risk! Instead, visit one of many stock photo websites. They have millions of stock photos that are all free to use (CC) without having to credit the author. Here are some examples of good websites to use:
*All websites listed allow for free searching and downloading. However, you may be required to make a free account.
- Pexels – Can browse photos by search bar, popularity, color etc…
- The Stocks – Can search by a column of photo types.
- Pixabay – Allows you to manually search for photos through a search bar.
All Information pulled from : “About The Licenses.” Creative Commons. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 June 2017.
Paige Kutzera is a rising sophomore at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. She is pursuing a double major in Communications and Food Marketing. She currently interns at DatAchieve Digital where she is gaining production and web experience.