You Mean I Can’t Use An Image From Google Images?

A friend called in a panic last week.

“I just received a notice from a lawyer stating I used an image of their clients on my website. It was copyrighted, therefore I owe $750 and must take the image of my site. If I don’t pay, they will continue pressing charges. Is this for real? I found it on Google Images, can’t I use those images?”

Yep, the world of photography is in chaos at the moment.

So we explained copyright laws and how the only images you can use online are images created by you, or images falling under creative commons or royalty free images.

Still the conversation persisted.

“So there’s a difference? If I look through Google Images, how do I know if I can use it or not?”

“You can’t use Google Images. Google indexes all images placed on every site in existence. Some are copyrighted, some aren’t. But you can’t use them. You can purchase images from a royalty free site like Or you can create the images yourself.”

Yep, for good or bad, the Internet and Google have changed everything. With a goal of indexing virtually everything in existence – from photographs to books and public domain information – Google now has become the average person’s best friend.

If you have a question, Google it.

If you have a problem, Google it.

If you need an image, Google it. [Read more…]