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September 9, 2014
Warning: Internet Photos Aren't Free Use
 
What photos of the myriads of them out on the Internet are available for free use? Virtually none, is the best guideline to follow. That might seem surprising, but the copyright laws have extensive reach, if whoever took a photo wants to apply them. This is something well worth remembering. It's amplified here by Lindsay Bell on Spin Sucks. She notes that you need to be practically a monkey taking a selfie (as one did) to deprive yourself of photographic copyright protection. 

So what do you do? Well, there are Internet-based services, like the Dollar Photo Club, that provide free use photos at reasonable cost. But stay away from Google Images – as Ragan's PR Daily notes, "Current Fair Use image copyright laws say that you're financially liable for posting copyrighted images, even if:

     "• You did it by accident
     "• You immediately take down the picture after receiving a DMCA takedown notice..."


And there are more. 

(Lindsay Bell shows the photo here as "Photo courtesy David Slater." Currently "works that originate from a non-human source can't claim copyright." But Slater, a British subject, is apparently still seeking copyright protection.)

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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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