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Using pictures from Google Is Fine – Isn’t It?

We’ve all done it, started to write an article or blog and realised that it would be more attractive/effective with an image attached, so where do you go?

Google of course. There are reams of images on there to suit any topic, and as they’re on Google, then they must be free to use.. yes? No!

Unless an image is Royalty Free (the definition here is “the right to use copyrighted material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or some time period of use or sales.” ) you cannot simply download it from Google for your use.

Images found on a Google search are subject to copyright laws and it’s the same as taking them directly off the owner’s site.

Now that’s not all images, there are some that are OK for public use and it requires a different “advanced” search to pull these up. You may find that at the choice is massively limited and you probably won’t find anything suitable.

If I search for “horse” without any other specification Google will display these images








However the majority of these images will not be Royalty Free and will be subject to copyright law.



If you click on “advanced” search you will see these options.


Here you can see the licence options. By selecting “Free to use, share or modify, even commercially” you will be in a better position, however this is still not a guarantee that the picture is Royalty Free, and you are advised to go directly to the website to check that the image is free to use.

There are many different sites that offer royalty free images such as:-



You can of course purchase a license for the image from sites such as iStock and Dreamstime.

It’s worth noting that not only are you taking someone’s work without their permission but you can face a hefty fine – Getty for instance are renown for not taking any prisoners and fining infringement up to £5,000 per image.

So the message here is very clear – If in doubt don’t – never use an image unless you are 100% sure it’s Royalty free or you own the correct license for use.

For more information please contact us.

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