Is sharing the new stealing?

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Working in Marketing involves using graphics, photographs and illustrations to make your content more fun and moreover to make your marketing efforts stand out and be recognised on the market.

Lately I have been noticing more discussion around content sharing and the implications that are involved around sharing photos and content that isn’t your own.

Today we live in a very transparent, dynamic and through social media, well connected world. What five years ago maybe took a day to seep through the Internet can today be shared within seconds. Finding and sharing content has almost become uncontrollable. It can be quit hard to know where your boundaries are when it comes to simply reposting a photo; I mean others do it all the time right? So where do we draw the line? I do believe at the end of the day this can be a business ethics issue as it can be disrespectful towards the original artist to share content without permission, not to mention the potential legal ramifications.

So when it comes to sharing photos or creating marketing support materials these are my 3 Go-To steps:

1) Google Image Search

Google is the biggest search engine and thus offers a great amount of photos to the public, but be aware only a small percentage of these photos can be reused for commercial re-use. In order to only show images that have the right to be reused do this:

-Go to Images Search

-Click on Search Tools

-Click on Usage Right

-Select Labeled for Reuse or Commercial Reuse


You will notice that in compare to the normal search less images will come up in this search but you can be sure that the photos shown within this search are allowed to be reused. Before reusing content, make sure that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse. For example, the license might require that you give credit to the image creator when you use the image. Google can’t tell if the license label is legitimate, so we don’t know if the content is lawfully licensed.

I recommend using Google only as a place to find inspiration rather than using the images, as Google doesn’t own the images. Unless you are able to link back to the original source and fully understand the terms and conditions I recommend you to only use Google as a platform to get inspired rather than re-use.

2) Free Stock Images

Yes you heard right, there a great many websites that offer quality photos either for free or for a small price to be re-used for your own usage and can help you create great content. I use stock images all the time for personal blogging, mainly because I don’t have the time to take them all by myself and some of the content I manage is not “personal “and it would be weird to use personal photos e.g. of myself or my cat 😉

My three favorite sites are:

1) Pixabay: One of the first websites I discovered when trying to find photos for content creation, it has a data base of over 400,000 images which ensures that there is something in there for any

2) Flickr: All the photos that are labeled as free use can be re-used, what I love about Flickr is the App that you can download for free onto your phone. It’s very user friendly and allows you to search for photos on the Go!

3) Death to the stock: Common with this name it has to be on my Top 3 list. It comes with two options: a free plan that delivers selected images to your inbox and a paid version for $15USD a month that gives you full access to the entire library of stock images as well as monthly special images send straight to your inbox.

I guess at the end of the day it depends on what type of images you are needing and while Pixabayoffers generic photos that are great for presentations and some marketing materials such as flyers etc.Death to Stock image is a little artier and probably more suited for creative bloggers that want something a little more exclusive and quality orientated rather than quantity focused.

3) Always name the source of Image

When it comes to using any images that aren’t your own and unless otherwise stated (e.g. stock photos) I always recommend you to name the original source and the artist of the photo. The last thing you want to do is to upset the artist.

So here is the good news: you don’t have to be Andy Warhol or Van Gogh to create great quality photographs or images. There are some ways out there to help you create great blog posts, articles and promotional support material.

I am still a big believer in creating your own photographs and content whenever possible as this will make you stand out on the market, but understand that we can’t do everything; the day has 24 hours only. (What would Beyoncé do?)

My three tips above can help you to still create outstanding content without worrying about facing copyright charges.

On an end note I need to address to NEVER assume that an image you found on the internet is free of use, aim to always ask for permission linking all the way back to the original source (photographer, illustrator, author) and if you can not find out who the owner is then it’s the best not to re-use the image.

As a content manager and freelance blogger I am always happy to hear about new ways to find quality content that can be re-used. I would love to hear your feedback and comments.

Need help finding great stock images free or paid for use in your marketing? Give me a call and we can definitely help you out.

Nami Julia Hampe 0508 Fuel Me


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