Photography is one of my hobbies, but I also have photos for sale on a few microstock sites which earn me a little money from time to time. Because of this I’m very aware that one can’t simply use any photo one finds in a Google search to illustrate one’s own articles.
There are sites which will allow one to use their photos free of charge, often with an appropriate attribution required, but even these must be used with caution, partly due to the fact that some of them advertise images which are FOR SALE on sites like Shutterstock. It would seem that this causes a lot of confusion because I’ve often seen photos with Shutterstock watermarks seen on the various writing sites I’ve used over the last few years.
It’s important to remember that if you use stolen photos, it’s not just one website’s rules that you are breaking. You are breaking the law, and if the person who holds the copyright of even one photo you use decides to take legal action, it could be a very costly mistake.
I’ve just come across an article on Fstoppers which tells what happened to someone who was caught using a photo he found in a Google search. The article includes this video by the offending party.
Although I dispute his claims that the photographer whose photo he used was malicious, there is some useful information in the first few minutes of the video.