So you have your blog setup and you have created a few posts, people are visiting your website but the bounce rate is high, and those that stay are reading a few posts which shows the content is interesting but not quickly grabbing the visitors.
On analysis you decide that the blog posts are mainly text and when you land on the website nothing grabs your attention, so you decide that some images will get the viewers attention and add another dimension to the content.
To grow your website you may need to find some images,many internet users are of the opinion that the internet is a free resource, free accounts, free websites, free plugins, free themes, free software, free tutorials, free content and free images, and will just Google a few keywords and grab the images.
A lot of resources are indeed free, but that is the choice of the artist, author or asset owner, many images you may see on the internet have been licensed, that means the copyright is still owned by the artist or author and a license has been purchased granting rights managed or royalty free use for the buyer.
There is a few indexing services that can find where an image is used on the internet, one of these that photographers use is TinEye, if they find an un-licensed image on your website you could find yourself with an invoice for a couple of thousand dollars.
There is a maze of places on the internet you can find safe to use images, most of the images in this post and on the demo themes on this website have been purchased from the micro stock image library IStockPhoto.com for less than $2 each, and where you will find a few million images that are usable on a website or blog on a royalty free licence.
These images can be used in a post or as a header images on a website, but not as a logo or included in a downloadable theme, if you wanted to include a stock image in a template that would require an extended licence which would be well over $100 on most stock sites.
You might be handy with a camera and take your own images, as you are the photographer or author you own the copyright, that is providing it was not a commission or taken as part of your job for your employer, you might be thinking that’s great I will just go out and shoot my own images.
You might own the copyright on the images but what about the content, if there are people have you protected yourself by getting a signed model release, that ‘Nike tick’ on the trainer that you have used to emphasise that wearing trainers can damage your feet, or the house that you have used for your realty blog, do you need or have a property release for these.
This would also cover Creative Commons images from places like Flickr where you can download and use images from other contributors under creative commons licence, although the image licence has been set by the photographer is the content without copyright issues and with all permissions recorded.
Image Licence Type
Commercial: is the type of website where the website, posts or article is ‘Commercial Content’, this is where the sole purpose of the website is for a Business that is selling products or services, and for this use you would require all images content to conform with a ‘Rights Managed or Royalty Free’ licence.
Advertorial: is the type of website, post or article that looks like it offers help and advice, but the underlying purpose is to sell products and services through the website, and for this use you would require all images content to conform with a ‘Rights Managed or Royalty Free’ licence.
Editorial: is a type of website post or article that may have ad blocks like Google adSense which will have a mix of related and un-related content, but does not endorse or sell it’s own products and services, this may be a magazine that carries reports on events and news, which will use a mix of ‘Rights Managed, Royalty Free and Editorial Licensed’ images as well as un-licensed news worthy images, this could be images of a local church, school or community event, a picture of a person, landmark or building that is related to the news worthy content.
Content of your website is your responsibility, there are some actions that as bloggers or business owners we may not think about or take enough ownership of, we do have a greater responsibility in some of our own business models, two of these areas are ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Duty of Care’.
Due diligence in civil litigation is the effort made by an ordinarily prudent or reasonable party to avoid harm to another party, failure to make this effort may be considered in a civil court as negligence.
As an author your due diligence is to gather enough information about the content and images to make sure to the best of your knowledge that it is ok for you to upload the image.
Many locations like zoo’s will only allow non-commercial photography, when you use photographs of a specific location, then you should inquire about commercial use of any images, even for images that you are going to upload as ‘editorial use only’.
Taking images of people for your blog, use age appropriate images for dating websites etc, when shooting under 18′s like a local teen ‘wannabe model’ that claims to be 18, then you should not just accept the word of the model, but have a recorded ‘proof of age’ if called for and a signed release, the preference is a photocopy of a passport, as any passport fraud is a criminal and not civil offence, a witness to the model’s age should sign at the same time as the model and also be present at the shoot to protect the photographer, if you keep all information and a file of these actions, then you can show you have exercised due diligence for the use of that image.
Duty of Care is another consideration in business, there should be a duty of care from the blogger or author to the reader, any businesses greatest duty of care is to their customers, ensuring they have the knowledge and information to make a balanced and informed conclusion, and the readers are your blogs customers.