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Never Download Images From Google For Your Blog Posts

It's just not worth the risk ...


Posted by Steffi Lewis on 09/03/2021 @ 8:00AM

A long, long time ago, when I was first starting out blogging for small business owners, I was less knowledgable about copyright on images and naively downloaded one from Google for a client’s blog post ...

Always use a stock library to download licensed images for your blog posts!

Always use a stock library to download licensed images for your blog posts!

copyright: scanrail / 123rf

To be fair, I had looked at the usage settings and it told me it was free to use and modify without attribution so as my client had asked for something pretty unique, a search on Google found an image I liked and it was the right size so I downloaded and used it.

"All was well for a couple of months until my client got a demand for payment!"

It turned out that the photographer put their entire library onto a stock photo website and the website owners were performing an automated scan for image usage, which you can do easily via the Google API. The image had been flagged up on my client's blog post and they had emailed them demanding a four-figure settlement for copyright infringement.

My client contacted me in a panic and I went back to the image on Google and the usage policy had changed! No longer was it free to use and modify without attribution. It had become an image that needed payment to use it, so my client was in hot water with a bill to pay and I felt totally guilty.

I spoke to them and suggested that they contact the stock library and explain that at the time the image was originally used, Google claimed a free to use and modify policy. They did, and got the bill dramatically reduced, though the stock library refused to withdraw the claim because the published blog post had many shares and comments so they said my client had benefited from its usage.

"People don't believe it when I tell them stock libraries scan the internet for image usage. Trust me, they do!"

Always use a legitimate stock library to get your images from. There are many out there, some free, some paid for. Just to be sure, attribute the photographer and link back to their profile on the library (like I've done above). Yes, you may have to pay for the images, but the peace of mind about not being hit with an invoice for copyright infringement far outweighs the costs of the actual image itself.

Trust me, I never downloaded and used an image from Google ever again. I only ever use licensed images from trusted stock libraries for all of my clients' blog posts now.

Until next time ...



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About Steffi Lewis ...


Developer, blogger, photographer, videographer, foodie, cat lover, sci-fi nut, cancer survivor, countryside dweller, and Creator In Chief of SLO Media.

A 30+ years veteran developer with knowledge of Windows Servers, SQL Server, HTML, Classic ASP, JavaScript, and CSS. Using my knowledge and talents to create, maintain and enhance Steffi/CMS that offers blogging, social media and email services to small business owners throughout the UK.

I've also worked as a professional photographer in Los Angeles, USA and been a Vision Mixer and Producer for live television in my time.


0333 335 0420