One very common mistake I often advise new writers about is the incorrect use of images with their written content. Many believe that if they search Google Images or Yahoo! Images for a photo, they can then use that photo and credit Google Images or Yahoo! Images as the source. This is incorrect usage and can get you into a large amount of trouble regarding copyright. Google Images and Yahoo! Images are search tools, not image sources.
Can I use images found via Google Images or Yahoo! Images?
You can likely use some of those images. But you will need to go to the original source and verify the licensing and usage rights. When using these images, you should not credit Google Images or Yahoo! Images as the source. Rather, you should credit the photo as outlined in the licensing terms at the original source. Yahoo! Images does make it easier by integrating Flickr photos and an advanced search option to find commercial use photos.
What are Yahoo! Images and Google Images for if not an Image Source?
These resources are merely tools to help you narrow down the search. They are not meant to be used as the original source, which is why the original source is always linked with each photo. This is so that the person searching can go to that original source for more information, including licensing information, if applicable.
How do I credit an image properly?
This depends on where you are posting the image, as well as the licensing terms. If you are displaying the image on content you will profit from, also make sure that the licensing rights include commercial use. Generally, you'll be listing the photographer's name, as well as the source and/or a link back to the original image. But again, the method of crediting the image may vary.
What if the original source has no licensing info?
If no usage information is listed, don't use the picture. But can't I just say where it came from? No, you cannot. Not all photographers would like their images used and if there are no permissions specified, then you don't have the right or proper permissions to use the image. If there is contact information on the site, ask for permissions that way. However, it is much easier to prove granted permissions with a link to the licensing info online. So, I recommend sticking with images that prominently display such info.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there)