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November 16, 2015
Unless They're Royalty Free, Images Can Bite You
We suspect that for many PR practitioners, the question of using photos incidentally from such sources as Google Images, leaves a vague feeling of, “I wonder if this is really legal.” Might the photo be copyrighted? Who knows? So, in haste, we’re likely to use it, reasoning that if Google shows it, it ought to be okay. Not necessarily.

There’s a safer, more ethical, way to proceed. Kelsey Leavey at The Hodges Partnership in Richmond, VA, lists three sources of royalty-free images, Creative Commons Search, Unsplash and Google Images filtered search. This last is of particular interest because of the volume of images Google makes available.

It turns out that you can check on an image’s “usage rights” via Google and have presented to you only those that are “Labeled for reuse”. Check out Kelsey’s post to learn how this is done.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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