Jun 02, 2023 | By admin

Perhaps you are a writer and you write online content such as blogs and articles and web content. That is why you might agree that using images in blogs is a really good way to elevate the quality of the writing.  However, there is a problem, using images in publications requires permission. Using images without permission can carry a lot of legal problems for your website.

We are talking about copyright laws. Because if you use an image that already has a copyright under its name to a different owner then you might get into trouble. This might not be an issue for social media but it is definitely an issue for a publication on a different platform. Copyright laws are there to protect intellectual properties such as images from unfair use for monetary gain. And if you use images that are not yours then your company and you can come under those laws.

That simply means unnecessary legal consequences. Companies and websites can sue you and it is a never-ending chain of legal troubles. So, to the question,” Can I legally use pictures from the internet?” The answer is a resounding yes, at all times.



The laws surrounding image use on the Internet in India fall under primarily three categories. While there might be many sections of laws dedicated to copyright protection but we are talking about three types of laws not three kinds of laws.  


This is the most important law regarding copyright. We are talking about the Copyright Act of 1957. This is the primary right that protects the owners of images. This law grants exclusive rights to the owners of the content. This lets the owner grant permissions to others to allow them to reproduce and publicly display the image as well as distribute it. The owner can also reproduce and use their image however they want. If you are not an owner of any particular image and if you do any of those things such as reproducing the image or distributing it or publicly displaying it without permission from the owner then you are liable according to copyright law. There are certain exceptions to this as well and these exceptions are for news reporting or criticism as well as educational purposes. That is where we find the utilisation of licences which permits different people from using the images of a different person.


The second law that we are talking about is the privacy law. It is when you use the image of any individual without their permission for commercial purposes. This law states that doing such a thing as using a photograph of an individual without their knowledge may infringe on their privacy. There are of course the same exceptions such as for news reporting or criticism or even educational and research purposes. Laws are there to safeguard individuals and it is up to the judicial system to interpret the correct meaning of these laws. Sometimes you might not be charged and sometimes you might be liable for damages depending upon the use case scenario.


The third law we are going to talk about has a very wide reach and using images without anyone’s permission can also fall under this category. Defamation is when you are actively trying to defame a person or harm a person’s reputation. That is why if you utilise any image that might speak badly of a person then it can fall into the category of defamation law. The interpretation of defamation law is also very big. Any person or concern that is the owner of any image can register a case against you under defamation law even if they do not have any ground for copyright law or privacy law.


There are a lot of ways to use a copyrighted image safely on the Internet without any legal repercussions. However, the best way to make sure that there are no problems with that image is to create that image yourself and this would be the best-case scenario. You would be the owner and you would hold all the permissions of the image.

The second way is to simply obtain permission from the owner of the image that you are trying to use. If you have direct permission from the owner in the form of writing or a digital licence then you do not need to worry about anything.

There are different safe options for using images online and we are going to go into detail about that right now so that you might have all the options available to you.



This is the simplest way to get images for using them on your website or on your blogs or on any kind of online publication. Images in the public domain are reserved for public use of any kind.  The uses can even be commercial. These images are exempt from copyright restrictions which means you can use them without thinking about any legal problems. When we talk about the public domain it can be the public domain of your state or dominion or country that ensures free use to all its citizens. It can be international places of public domain such as Wikipedia. There can be websites where you can get public domain images such as Unsplash or Pixabay or Wikipedia Commons etc.


Creative comments are a set of standardized licences which were created so that it becomes easier for creators to use online content. These licences work in the form of simple codes that helps the user understand the level of permission associated with any image. The degree of flexibility and freedom can depend on the type of CC licence that image has.

There is primary four conditions of Creative Commons (CC) licences.

1. Attribution (BY)

BY suggests that you can use any particular image provided that you provide the credits to the author or the original owner of the image.

2. ShareAlike (SA)

SA is the condition that suggests that if creators change or modified an image then they must always attribute it to the same or compatible CC licence.

3. NonCommercial (NC)

NC states that creators can utilise any piece of work or image with permission from the copyright owner provided that image is not used for any commercial purposes. This means that the publication should not earn money from that image under any direct circumstances.

4. NoDerivatives (ND)

ND is simple to understand and it is simply that writers and creators can utilise any piece of work or image provided that there are no modifications and adaptations made to the original image. This means you can utilise any image under this condition just you cannot edit or change the brightness or contrast or do any small or major change to that image.

Now these conditions can be combined to create licences where we can see all these codes stacked together to help users understand the degree of permissions for using any image.

Let us look at a few examples of these combinations

1. CC BY – Attribution

This means that the image can be used freely provided that the user must always attribute the image to its actual owner. They can use this image for commercial purposes as well, just that they will always have to mention the original creator of that image or any content with a CC BY license.

2. CC BY-SA - Attribution, Share-Alike

This means that the user can freely use the image or any content they are using under this licence. Provided that all the additional work that has been created from this original work must also be included under the same licence and credited to the original owner.

3. CC BY-ND - Attribution, NoDerivatives:

This kind of licence means that users can redistribute the original work but with attribution. But users who are using that original image are not given permission to make any changes to that image. They are not allowed to modify the image or edit the image or make any minor changes to the image.

4. CC BY-NC - Attribution, Non-commercial

This means that the image or the content which is concerned can be re-distributed as well as changed and modified but the user must always attribute the original creator of the image. This licence also limits the use of the image for only non-commercial purposes.

5. CC BY-NC-SA – Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike

By now we hope that you will be able to understand the meaning of this licence. This licence states that the user of the image simply needs to attribute the original owner and they can only use this image for non-commercial purposes. If the user creates any derivative works from that image, then that should also fall under the same licence.

6. CC BY-NC-ND - Attribution, Non-commercial, NoDerivatives

This is simply when the user can use the image but they have to attribute the original owner and they cannot use the image for any commercial purposes. The user cannot modify the image or make any changes to it.  This is one of the stricter variants of CC licences.


When it comes to fair use, you can use the image even if it is copyrighted material for specific purposes. You cannot use the image for commercial purposes. However, you can use that image if you are criticizing that image or if you are doing news reporting or commentary on that image. You can also use that image if your purpose is educational in nature which includes scholarship or teaching as well as research. Then again, we would suggest you speak with your lawyer to understand if you can actually use that image.


Several websites provide services for stock photos. Stock photos and nothing but generic photos of general reactions and general things such as cars and houses. They can be of people such as a happy person or sad person etc and much more. Stock photos are owned by the website and contributors on the website where you can download them. They usually charge a monthly fee for licences that will allow you to use that image. However, there can be several types of licenses. Popular websites for stock photos are Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Getty Images etc. Stock photos can also be any kind of photos that are very popular on the internet and they can even be historic photos of historic people.


Unlike stock photos where you need a monthly subscription to use any and all images on a particular website, royalty-free images are licences for images that are based on a one-time fee.  This means that in order to use any image you simply have to pay once and you will own the rights to that image to use it as many times as you want with or without attribution. This is just a different payment model which will not make you renew the licence every time you keep using an image because you only need to pay once and have unlimited uses for any image.


When it comes to rights-managed images, the licences can seem confusing but it is actually very simple. Let us explain. When we talk about rights-managed images, several factors determine whether you can use those images. These factors can be anything from the duration of usage where you might be able to use that image for a limited time. One of the other factors can even be region specific where users of a certain region have permission to use that image but others do not. When it comes to right-managed images, you simply have to negotiate the rights with the owner of the image or even the licensing agency.


When we talk about extended use, it is a kind of modified licence that has been specially created for specific users. These modified licences allow users to have additional options of permission such as commercial use or permission to use the image in merchandise etc. If these extended-use licensees are on a website then it can also include additional permissions such as high-resolution downloads. This is quite a fascinating concept and these licences are provided by licencing agencies or the stock photo agency.


If you want to use images safely on the Internet then intention is important because when we talk about editorial use, it will give you the right to use any image provided you are using it for certain purposes. If you decide to use any image for news reporting purposes then you are not liable to any legal troubles. You can even use images for commentary purposes or criticism purposes provided that you adhere to the local laws. You can also do editorial use of any image for educational purposes and governments are very supporting of users using images for educational purposes.


This is when you ask permission directly from the user that has generated the content. This is very common in multiple industries where the creator and the original user simply gives verbal permission or written permission to other users to use the content. This is one of the safest ways of using images online without legal problems.


If you want to make sure that there is no shadow of a doubt of the fact that you will never have any legal troubles, you must create your own images. This is very simple to do in the world of AI.  If you want to be absolutely sure and safe about using images online then this is the best thing to do. It is to either take photographs or create your own images and visual content.


You can use images that you found on social media but you must make sure that you ask the permission of the original owner. A simple way to do it is to simply text them on the social media platform and request permission to use their image. They must reply positively granting you permission to use that image and you must take a screenshot of that message as proof of permission.

Now that we know how to stay legally safe on the internet while using images, let us answer a few common questions related to copyright and legally using images on the internet.


· What are the steps to finding free or low-cost images?

This is actually quite simple because all you need is Google. Go on your browser and on Google and simply search for copyright-free images or you can search for low-cost images. And you will get multiple websites that provide these images. When you find popular websites like Pixabay, simply search for the image you are looking for. When you are searching for images, you must make sure to use the appropriate keywords for the best results.

· How to legally use copyrighted images?

The basic thing to understand here is that you will need permission to legally use copyrighted images. There are different types of permissions and that permission can be a written and a signed document. That permission can also be in the form of licences such as creative commons licences. However, if you want to use legally copyrighted images for non-commercial purposes for reasons such as education or criticism as well as commentary then you can use them.

· What is the legal use of images?

The legal use of images is when you use images for commercial or non-commercial purposes only after having the proper licence and permission from the original copyright owner or agency or company. Copyright laws are there to protect ownership of artistic material which includes images and these are there so that someone’s creativity can stay their property. Depending upon the region of the world you are in, you might have different kinds of copyright laws but the general idea is that you will have to have permission from the owner of the image to use it legally.

· What images are copyrighted?

Any image can be copyrighted by its owner and generally, images related to art and photography are copyrighted. Digital art images are also copyrighted and vector art images can also be copyrighted. The safe way to go about it is to think that every image is copyrighted unless you get permission to use it.

· Is using images from Google illegal?

The images that you see on Google images might or might not be copyrighted and that is why you should treat all the images that you see on Google as having copyrighted. That is why you should not use any images that you find on Google without permission. Google does not use copyright-free images because Google is a search engine that simply displays images. If you want to use any image, simply click on the link below the image in Google images and you will reach the website of that image. From there you can contact the owner of the website to ask for permissions or even ask about the original owner.

· Can images be used without permission?

Images can be used without permission depending upon the intent of use. If you decide to use the image for news reporting or educational purposes or even research purposes and criticism purposes then you are free to use images without permission.

We hope this blog has been helpful for you to understand everything you need to know about legally using images in your writing. However, you might agree on the fact that all these legalities might seem too complicated because they are. That is why if you are looking for the best ghostwriting agency in India that will take care of all image permissions and licences and use them on your written content, then we are here to help you.

We are Get Best Writers and we are the fastest-growing and most popular ghostwriter-for-hire agency in India and we do everything from traditional offline content to online web content. That also includes adding images to the written content so that you can get everything delivered to you complete and ready for use. We welcome you to check out our website for all the amazing services that we provide.