Proper Use of Images in Blog Posts, Pt. 2 Google Images

For important information about copyright and fair use, along with a bit of a horror story of improper use of someone else’s images, see Part 1 of this two-part series.

So now that I’ve scared you half to death with copyright concerns, let’s explore a couple of ways to reduce the likelihood that we’ll need to seek legal advice after posting images. Specifically, we’ll look at two of the most popular photo repositories: Google Images and Flickr. Today’s post features Google Images.

Finding Copyright-Appropriate Images in Google Images

In the past, I didn’t use Google Images as a blog image source, because I found it tiresome to click on image after image until I found one that had copyright terms compatible with my need. One day, I got to wondering why Google Images didn’t have a function to narrow down the search, and so I Googled the question. Lo and behold, there is a very simple way to filter Google Images by usage needs, and it’s located in the Settings area of the Google Images results page.

On the Google Images search page, type in your search term and click the blue magnifying glass. I chose “copyright” as my search term, just to follow the week’s theme.

google images search box

You should have a page of image results displayed. At the top of the screen, waaaay over on the right, is the Settings Button. It looks like a little wheel. Or a techno-daisy.

google image results settings menu Click on the wheel to display a drop down menu, and then choose Advanced Search.

This is where it gets fun!

As you see, you can set all sorts of criteria for narrowing your image search (by color even!), but for today we’re most interested in the usage rights filter at the very bottom of the list (naturally):

google image advanced search usage rights menu

Click to enlarge

If you enlarged the image, you’ll see that clicking usage rights filter box displays a menu for selecting the appropriate type of image, based on your needs. If you don’t intend to modify an image in any way, “Free to use or share” is probably enough. Since I have ads on my blogs, which to my mind makes them commercial, I usually choose “Free to use, share or modify–even commercially. (I never know when I might want to plop a quote on an image, so I like to include the modify option.)

When you’ve made your selection, click the Advanced Search button to see only those images that fit your needs. Not so fast, though. You’ll want to take one more step to be sure.

When you find an image that interests you, click on it to display more information, and then visit the page (there’s a button for it) to read with your own eyes the specific statement of appropriate usage. Here’s an example, using one of the results I liked a lot:

wobbling blob of copyright by Abi ParamaguruThis image, titled “Congealed Wobbling Blob of Copyright”, was created by Abi Paramaguru and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License. (I include the link to the license so that anyone who comes along and wants to use it can check the license to see if it’s permissible and under what terms.)

I know all of this because it was clearly stated at the bottom of the article in which it was used, a report on issues with Australian copyright law.

That wasn’t so difficult, was it? Plus, it feels good to share the love by bringing recognition to the image creator.

Play around with it, explore, investigate and have fun. And then come back for my next post, which will address the wonderful world of Flickr. Teaser: It includes a handy, online tool for coding your image with all the proper citations!

Next Up: Part 3: Flickr