Happened to run across this info in the Learning Center and think every writer here who thinks using Google Images is legal needs to see it:
Google Images: Don't Use Them!
Google images are not legal-use images! Google aggregates images from across the web just like webpages, it doesn't own or have the authority to assign copyright information. Just like we don't like our written work stolen, photographers don't want their images stolen. Be a good net citizen and only use original or legally used photos!
You can filter the images you find on Google to only show those that are labeled for reuse with modification. From there you can go to the original site where the photo is and look for the attribution. Many of these photos are on different Wiki sites and can be used with attribution and many are stated as public domain pictures.
I have read that before, but what I posted here is a directive from the team, so I am not inclined to want to go against that. Besides, I don't need those images. There are plenty available to use that are beautiful, free public domain ones that I don't have to worry about using.
For me, it's better safe than sorry. Furthermore, lots of newer writers simply go ahead an use the Google images without taking the extra steps an thus are breaking copyright laws.
That's true - yes IN THEORY it is possible to filter the images so you only see images you can use - but I'm surprised how often Google Images gets it wrong, and includes copyright images!
Also - even when they get it right, it's usually necessary to include some kind of attribution if you're going to use the photo, and there's nothing on Google Images to tell you what that attribution is. You have to go to the source of the photo and hunt for it. A lot of people are too lazy to take that extra step which means they wind up using the image illegally anyway.
This is good to know. I just checked one of my photos and it has the attribution back to the source on Flickr.
But, something I recently found out, some photos on Flickr I have used over the years with the proper credit and attribution are no longer there under the same license. I think Getty buys up every picture on the internet.
About the only site I know of for attribute free pictures is Pixabay.
Morguefile still has attribute free photos too.
The learning center has a list of about 10 places where you can find free public domain safe photos to use. One is Wikimedia Commons, but with that one, you do have to pay careful attention to their directions because some you cannot use.
Precisely what I've read about, and have been implementing - filtering the images.
Google images is a good place to start but like many have pointed out you need to follow the link and go to the author's/photographer's site and see if the use of the image(s) is allowed.
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