5 Reasons Not to “Right-Click” a Google Image for Your Blog

Google and other image search engines are a free and easy way to get visual information. Search engines are not the best way to find an image for your blog. Your copy of an online search image may not cause trouble if used in an off-line collage or physical artwork. Use of that same image online, however, carries enormous risk. Unfortunately, search engine results obscure image ownership information.  Images bounce around the internet as they are screen-captured, downloaded from social media, mixed with other material, and shared by users. The owner of the website where you found the image likely does not own the image or provide permission from subjects appearing in the image.

Nevertheless, the photographer and each party or location depicted in the photo has rights in the image. Obtaining each of their permissions to use the image for your particular personal, commercial, or professional use is required to avoid liability. Although most images online are of unknown provenance, people and businesses continue to use online search images without permission. Several clients this year received demand letters relating to the use of online images without permission. Here are a few reasons to avoid risk by not right-clicking an image:

  1. Photo Trolls are Copyright Owners with Registered Claims to Copyright. While true, certain copyright owners are very aggressive about policing their rights. They use electronic infringement detection tools to identify potential infringement of their copyrights then demand several thousand dollars per image to settle. Ignore their demand letters at your peril. (more…)

Can Newsworthiness fade away? A tabloid figure of the 1970’s loses her fight for privacy.

Captor of the Manacled MormanJoyce McKinney allegedly kidnapped and raped a Morman missionary dubbed the Morman Sex Slave by the Daily Mirror. McKinney was the Diaper Wearing Astronaut of her time. Tabloid media’s entertainment value comes from invading the personal lives of notable and notorious people. Invasion of privacy laws protect people from injury from unwanted attention. Public figures like elected officials and celebrities who seek public attention seldom win lawsuits for invasion of privacy. The First Amendment protects newsworthy stories. Sensational stories may transform a private person into a limited public figure because she is related to a newsworthy event like the Manacled Morman story. When the story fades into history, does its newsworthy status evaporate?  Do limited public figures like Joyce McKinney have a right to keep their notorious acts in the past? (more…)