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6 ways to legally and easily use photos online

Do you know if you have permission to use photos online or are you leaving it up to chance when you use an image on your blog or website? Here are six ways to stay on the right side of the law.

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Avoiding copyright problems with online photos

Photos are becoming encouraged to use in social media posts, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and might interfere with Fair Use laws. In world where copyright lawsuits are getting increasingly popular, it’s simple to avoid this sticky photo situation.

Stock photography agency Dreamstime works with hundreds of photographers and is entrenched in the policies surrounding image copyright laws. The company asserts that getting permission to use a photo on a social networking site. Below are six ways to get permission easily and legally.

6 ways to legally use photos online

Noelle Federico is the Business Manager and CFO of Dreamstime.com, offering the following six ways to avoid copyright issues when using photos online:

  1. It’s safe to use an image found on the web in a social media post if it is for educational purposes such as a school project commentary or if you are commenting on or criticizing the topic in some way. Such as posting a photo you find on a hurricane and commenting on the damage it did on your FB page. Safety denotes that even when you do these types of posts cite your source giving credit to where you copied the picture from.
  2. Fair Use Laws operate on a case-by-case basis; there are guidelines which can be found at Copyright.gov. Occurrences of infringement are still judged on a case-by-case basis where intent of the use weighs heavily. Meaning that if you purposefully copied a photographer’s photo and tried to use it for material gain as opposed to using it in a school report your intent may make the difference in a copyright lawsuit judgment.
  3. If you are posting a photo on the social site of a business it is best to obtain images that you are sure you have the authorization to use. This can be done by purchasing stock photos or utilizing a FREE stock image website or collection. These free sites will have you become a member and then allow you to download without cost from their collections. When you do this you will be certain that you have a license to use the images you are downloading.
  4. Make sure when you are “searching” the web for photos that you investigate the source of an image before you right-click and copy it. Just because you ‘can’ copy an image that isn’t watermarked does NOT mean that you have the right to use it. Some of the search engines now bring up images and it isn’t easily seen that the images are actually being sourced from sites where they are protected unless you purchase them.
  5. Take photos yourself or get them from a paid or free source that offers them with a license; you can search images under the ‘Creative Commons license’ which allows for images that the photographers have released for common use as well as Yahoo and Wikipedia have images that can be used for common purposes.
  6. Bottom-line… use the same courtesy and respect for material found on the web that you would want someone to use with you. If it belongs to someone else ask permission to use it or buy it or license it from a stock site.

Federico offers some great insight into how to use online photos without getting into hot water, so next time you’re ready to get images for your blog or website, follow the rules and avoid nasty letters from the lawyers.

The American Genius (AG) is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Troy Herman

    April 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Getting used to following your posts and information lately.. seems that as I spread them to others, they like it as well (hope you get some good traffic out of it). This was a good one to share with my friends who are always asking about my pictures, information, and others… thanks!

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Social Media

Facebook’s Résumé takes another shot at LinkedIn

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook took another swipe at LinkedIn by introducing a new Résumé feature.

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Any job hunter is likely familiar with the little section somewhere during the application process where you’re asked to enter in social media information. Thankfully, Facebook is usually an optional field.

While I try to keep what the public can see of my social media profiles toned down enough as to not cause my grandmother to blush, I’m still not quite comfortable sharing my profile with prospective employers.

I’m sure many out there feel the same, and Facebook knows this.

Tinfoil hat theories aside, LinkedIn may be shaking in their boots as Facebook begins to advance their growth in the professional sector in their pursuit of social media domination.

Facebook has begun experimenting with a new Résumé/CV feature that works as an extension of your standard “Work and Education” section on a Facebook profile page, allowing users to share work experience in more detail with friends and family but most importantly: potential employers.

Luckily, the new Résumé/CV feature won’t be sharing personal photos or status updates, but will rather combine all the relevant information into a single, professional-looking package.

So far this feature appears to be rolled out to a small number of users, and it’s unclear when it will be officially launched, but this isn’t the first time Facebook has dipped their toes in the waters of the job sector, or took a jab at LinkedIn.

Several months ago, Jobs was launched, a feature that allows Business Pages to post job openings through the status composer, and keep track of them on their Page’s Jobs tab.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the intent behind the new Résumé/CV feature, “At Facebook, we’re always building and testing new products and services.

We’re currently testing a work histories feature to continue to help people find and businesses hire for jobs on Facebook,” and so this is just the beginning of Facebook’s plan to become a one-stop-shop and create a more seamless way for people to find and get jobs.

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Tag photos, connect with friends, order food?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seems to be sprawling into every nook and cranny of life and now, they’re infiltrating food delivery.

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Facebook is now bringing you food! Although, no one was really asking them to.

In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is attempting to transform into more than just a social media platform. They have partnered up with food delivery services to help users order food directly from their site.

They hope to streamline the process by giving users a chance to research, get recommendations and order food without ever leaving the site.

Facebook has partnered with their existing delivery services including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo in addition to restaurants to fast track the process.

The scenario they imagine is that while scrolling through the newsfeed, users would feel an urge to eat and look to Facebook for their options.

After chatting up friends via Facebook Messenger to ask for the best place to go, users would visit the restaurant’s page directly, explore their menu and decide to order. When ordering, you will have the option to use one of the partnered delivery services either with an existing account or by creating a new one.

The benefit is you stay on one site the entire time. With the time you save, the food can get to you faster, which is a plus for everyone.

Assuming that people already live on Facebook 24/7, this seems like a great update. If you like getting recommendations from your favorite social media resources, it’s even better.

The problem is that in recent years their younger audiences have dropped off in favor of other sites. Regardless of what they think, not everyone is flocking to Facebook for their every need.

My guess is that this service will benefit those already using Facebook, but is less likely to draw new audiences in.

Adding more services may not be the key to success if Facebook can’t refine their other features. They have already been criticized for their ad reporting practices, though they seem to fix everything with a new algorithm.

Facebook has continued to stray away from their original intent, and food delivery won’t be their last update.

Facebook wants to be everything, but not everyone may want the same.

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Social Media

Hate Facebook’s mid-roll ads? So does everyone else

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Those pesky ads that pop up in the middle of that Facebook video, aka mid-roll, seem to be grinding everyone’s gears.

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In an ongoing effort to monetize content, Facebook recently introduced “mid-roll” ads into videos by certain publishers, and it has now been testing that format for six months. If you aren’t a big fan of those ads interrupting your content consumption experience, you aren’t alone; publishers aren’t crazy about them either.

In a report on the program, five publishers working with Facebook’s new mid-roll ad program were sourced and all five publishers found that the program wasn’t generating the expected revenue.

One program partner made as little as $500 dollars with mid-roll ads while generating tens of millions of views on their content.

Two other partners wouldn’t specify exact revenue number, but they did acknowledge that the ad performance is below expectations. As far as cost goes, certain publishers mentioned CPMs between 15 cents and 75 cents.

That range is large because a lot of the data isn’t clear enough to evaluate their return on investment. According to the Digiday report, publishers receive data on total revenue, along with raw data on things like the number of videos that served an ad to viewers.

The lack of certain data points, along with the confusing structure of the data, makes it difficult to assess the number of monetized views and the revenue by video. For context, YouTube, as arguably the biggest player in video monetization, provides all these metrics.

Another issue is that licensing deals are cutting into margins. Facebook pays publishers, via a licensing fee, to produce and publish a certain number of videos each month. In exchange, Facebook keeps all money until it recoups the fee, after which revenue is split 55/45 between the publisher and Facebook.

While these challenges doesn’t change the fact that revenue is low, it does make it difficult to dissect costs in a meaningful way.

Why is revenue so low to begin with?

For starters, a newsfeed with enough content to feed an infinite scroll probably isn’t the best format for these kinds of ads. As a user, when I’m watching the videos and the ad interrupts the experience, I’ve always scrolled right on through to the next item on my feed. It’s a sentiment echoed by one of the publishers in the Digiday story.

Because of that, Facebook’s new Watch program, which creates a content exclusivity not found on the news feed, might produce better results in the future. Either way, Facebook will need to solve this revenue challenge for publishers, or they might pull out of the programs altogether.

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