It’s not OK to post images from Google on social media

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Sharing is Caring!

Quite often, brands will share photos on social media that they found on the internet for use on their own posts and pages. These images are often found on search engines, like Google, and then repurposed.

Not only is this bad form on social media, it’s illegal. Using a photo without the author’s permission can get you or your business into a lot of trouble.

Here are a few ways to make sure you’re playing it safe when using images:

Understand usage terms like “copyright,” “fair use” and “creative commons”

Here’s an article that can help with that. You’ll find that you, in most cases, will only want to be using images that fall under Creative Commons.

A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that he/she has created.

Properly use search tools

Don’t go to Google and right click and save the first image you see that you like. Because of the way SEO works, you’re going to see images from the most trusted outlets first – which means these images are most likely copyrighted.

Instead, under Google’s “Search Tools” option, choose “labeled for reuse.” If you’re using an image for your business, make sure it’s labeled for “commercial use.”

Use free stock photo sites

Gazette Media & Marketing recently shared a list of great stock photo sites. Sometimes, these sites aren’t going to have what you’re looking for. But it’s worth a shot.

Ask permission

If you’re planning an event, making a brochure or posting something online, it’s important to contact the author or owner of a photo before use, if it’s not a fair use or creative commons image. Look up an organization’s contact information on their website. If they’re not willing to give you an image for free, chances are that it only costs a few dollars for a digital copy.

Make SURE to give that company or artist credit for their work. Photographers, videographers and other artists work very hard. They deserve it.

More: Follow This Chart to Know If You Can Use an Image from the Internet


When it comes down to it, you want to post original content as much as possible on your social media accounts, anyway. Original photos make your pages more personal and more relatable to potential customers.

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