Copyright Protected Photos – What You Need to Know

Copyright protected graphic reference for blog post

You did an online search and found this great photo you want to use for a project. It would be perfect for your next blog post or FB thread. You can just download and use it right? WRONG!!!

The photo is likely ©Copyright Protected and belongs to the photographer who created it.

So NO, you can’t just use the photo without authorized permission or purchasing a license. That would be considered stolen property and would be a Copyright violation!

Having recently experienced this very matter with one of my photos, the post is dedicated to educating those on Copyright snafus and how to avoid them.

FYI: I have an entire page about Copyright and Licensing Info and a link to said page in the footer of my site. But that still does not stop people from doing nefarious things…

Copyright Protected Photos Basics

Copyright protected watermark symbol
Copyright symbol.

There are select websites that allow you to use photos free and clear. However, more often than not, just about every photo/image you may see online is Copyright Protected in some form or another. If the author/creator of a photo/image has done their due diligence, they have embedded specific meta data into the photo which proves they are the author.

If you come across a photo you’d like to utilize, you need to reach out to the photographer directly to ask permission. OR purchase a license for usage if that option is available. This can be via a photographer’s website or they may have it available via a stock photography website such as Adobe Stock, Alamy, Shutterstock or the like.

In some instances a photographer may grant you permission to use the photo of your interest for free. But don’t just expect them to do so. Be prepared to detail how and where you intend to use the photo as there can be restrictions on usage.

What You See in Search Results

Ideally the examples below will act as visual cues for Copyright Protected photos. This way you will know what to look for in the future.

Note: all of the photos in these search results are my own – so I am not committing any violations.

The first image below is a result of a search done on Chrome. The Keyword Search Terms utilized were: “Budding Barrel Cactus Plant with Red Buds”. As you can see – which I’ve circled in red, there are VERY clear license details below the image. It shows the creator (me) AND that it is Copyright Protected.

Also note, you see my logo and just…b photography in the upper left hand corner. You can also see my signature in the photo in the lower right. Clicking on the light blue “Visit” button would take you to the page/post on my website where that image can be found.

Copyright license details on cactus image result from search.

Other times, you may just see the following underneath a photo:

Copyright text that may appear under an image.

You’d still need to contact the photographer/creator to ask permission for usage or if you can purchase a license. Again clicking on the light blue “Visit” button would get you to the photo’s location online.

Search Results that Lead to a Stock Photography Site

In the search result below, the photo reflects that it is available on the stock photography site Adobe Stock. You also see there is License details below the photo. You cannot utilize the photo without purchasing a license first.

Search result image that leads to AS with license details.

If you were to click on the light blue “Visit” button, in this case it would take you directly to the photo on Adobe Stock. The result you would see is this:

just...b image on AS with license details and options.

You can see there are different types of Licensing available – Standard or Extended. The cost of these comes down to how you intend you utilize the photo and there are usage restrictions. The photo remains Copyright Protected.

Thou Shalt Not Get Caught…

When someone would get busted for doing a nefarious deed my dad would say “they broke the Eleventh Commandment – thou shalt not get caught”. Well I’m here to tell you folks, if you’ve been using others photos or images without authorized permission or purchasing a license first, then you’re stealing Copyright Protected work!!

Be prepared to TAKE DOWN THE PHOTO IMMEDIATELY! No ifs, ands or butts!

For the record, there is an entire branch of the law dedicated to Copyright Violations and Infringement with attorneys all too happy to prosecute. These violations can come with hefty fines. 😮😠

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