When Do You Need Permission to Use Images in Your Blog?

The best blog posts are memorable ones. They’ll stick with your potential customers long after they’ve been read, reminding them to choose your company’s products or services. Unfortunately, most people only retain about 10% of the info they read after three days. The good news is that you can boost that statistic to 65% by pairing your content with a striking visual image! However, it’s crucial to avoid using images in your blog in a way that could violate copyright law. Here’s what you need to know about visual rights.

Investigating Copyright Status

If you’re looking for images in a stock image database, you should be able to clearly see the licensing info. However, you may come across an image in a Google search that you want to use in your blog, and the copyright for these images can be a little less clear. If the image isn’t accompanied by copyright info, you’ll need to look for a link, website name, or author name. Try to track down who originally created that image. When asking the author’s permission to use the image in your blog post, you should double-check that this person still has the legal rights to the image and hasn’t transferred them to someone else.

Using Images with Creative Commons Licenses

Many of the images you’ll find online are associated with a Creative Commons (CC) license. There are actually six different types of CC licenses. It’s crucial to understand which license applies to the image you want to use. They are:

Attribution (CC By)

You can use, distribute, and modify the image, even for commercial purposes, as long as you provide attribution to the author.

Attribution-ShareAlike (CC By-SA)

This is similar to the previous license. However, every modification of the image must be attributed and licensed to the original author.

Attribution-NoDerivs (CC By-ND)

You can use the image for any purpose, including commercial purposes, but you cannot modify it and you must provide attribution to the author.

Attribution-NonCommercial (CC By-NC)

You can use and modify the image, but only for non-commercial purposes. If you modify the image, you are not required to license the derivative work on the same terms.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC By-NC-SA)

Similar to CC By-SA, but images and their derivatives can only be used for non-commercial purposes.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC By-NC-ND)

You can share and use images non-commercially, but you cannot modify them and attribution must be provided.

Using Public Domain Images in Your Blog

Another option for sourcing images for your blog is to use public domain images. In the U.S., copyright duration lasts the author’s lifetime plus 70 years. This means if you wanted to use a photo taken by someone who died on October 1, 1950, you could legally do so starting on October 1, 2020. In addition, any photo created by the U.S. federal government is automatically in the public domain, so consider checking image databanks from U.S. federal agencies to find images for your blog.

If you need a simpler blogging solution for your business, talk to the team at Pennington Creative. We are a full-service digital marketing agency, offering everything from blog posts and social media updates to eBooks and graphic design. Partner with Pennington and perfect your brand.

About the Author

Jacky - Digital Marketing Specialist, Copywriting
Jacky Gilchrist

Digital Marketing Specialist, Copywriting