Every now and then I hear people say that they just took a photo off of Google to use for their newest blog post. And I say, “You know you can’t do that, right?”

Copyright laws make it illegal for us to take random pictures from the internet. These copyright laws go really far back, and were created to push people into creativity instead of just using what was already there. The first copyright law stated: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” (United States Constitution, 1787).

While copyright laws have evolved over the past 229 years, some things remain the same. Copyrights cover literary, written, artistic, musical, dramatic, and even some other types of work. Copyright is also immediately given to the author once the work is published or posted.

There are multiple penalties for breaking copyright laws. According to Purdue University, some of these include paying the dollar amount for damages and profits, paying for all attorney and court fees, paying between $200 and $150,00 for every stolen piece, and even going to jail.

Now that you understand that you’re breaking the law, you’re probably wondering how you can get images to use for your website or blog. Allow us to give you some suggestions.

There are tons of sites online that allow you to use their images. Istock is a popular option, however you do have to pay for the images. Below are a few free sites you can check out:

These are only a few sites that offer free photos, and as you can see they vary on what they post.

Finally, you can search Google images for free pictures. By clicking on the Search Tools and then selecting “Labeled for Reuse or Labeled for Reuse with Modification”. If you’re confused, you can take a look at the picture.

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Hopefully this helped a little bit, and you can get back to blogging!