The Custard Blog

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How Bloggers can Avoid Infringing Image Copyright

All bloggers share the same personality trait – passion. Content writing isn’t just about churning out boring, unimaginative pieces of work. It is about being creative and producing high quality, interesting content that will inform, entertain and be shared across the vast blogosphere.

But as anyone knows, a picture can tell a thousand words and as compelling as you can be in your choice of language use, often or not the reader prefers to skim read content and look for images to explain the story instead.

What do you do if you don’t have the right image that relates to your article though? Do you leave the blog post empty and do your best to make it visually-appealing with bullet points and sub-headings (which you should do already to break up big blocks of text!)?

Do you fork out money by buying a subscription fee for copyright permission? Or do you steal a picture from somewhere else and carry it off as your own?

There are a few different options; however plagiarism is never the answer. So how can bloggers avoid infringing image copyright? Here is an expert guide to staying safe.

Creative Commons

As Ars Technica rightly pointed out, as publishers we can benefit from Creative Commons-licensed images in a number of ways. There are a number of types available and all have their own restrictions depending on what can be used, where and for what purposes.

The three main clauses include:

  • Attribution

In a nut shell, you need to say who the author or licensor is but not in a way that suggests that they endorse you. You need to give proper credit when it is due so say the name of the author and link back to the original site where the image was hosted.

E.g. Image was used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence courtesy of Lauren Grice on Flickr.

You must comply with all notices played by the copyright holder and cite their name.

(Images used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence)

  • No derivatives

If you come to use an image and it states this option, it prohibits you from altering or transforming the work. If you want to use it, you cannot build upon it – you must use it exactly how it is.

·         Non-commercial

Simply put, this means that the image is only for non-commercial use that it is not intended for or directed toward commercial advantage of private monetary compensation. However, what exactly can commercial be defined as? As a blogger, you may write for non-profit, so does this mean you can or cannot use it?

If you are an advertiser, you won’t be able to get away with using a non-commercial Creative Commons image. If you are an editor, check with a lawyer because it is a really grey area as whether or not it falls under fair use. And for everyone else, ask yourself ‘are you using the image to coax money out of someone else’s pocket and into my own?’ If you are, then you cannot use non-commercial.

So now you know the clauses to copyright, how do you source a Creative Commons image?

You can source via Google Images for pictures to post in your blog, but set the search to: ‘Free to use, share or modify, even commercially’. Make sure you add a caption with the attribution details.

Other resources include CC Search and Flickr. If you choose to search via Flickr, make sure you select ‘Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content’ under Advanced Settings.

And according to Mashable, further sites consist of (a site for artists),,,, (travel & tourism),, and


Follow these tips to ensure you avoid infringing image copyright. All writers take great care in their work to ensure it is unique, engaging content. Make sure you show the same amount of effort with your blog post images.

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