Have you ever seen a really beautiful photo on a web page or even in Instagram? Have you right-clicked to save that image or taken a screen shot? Did you know that what you just did is theft? I know, that sounds harsh, but the truth is, you just took money out of the pocket from the person who created that image, especially if that person makes their living creating art and images.
Social media has been a great tool for artists to gain exposure to a world-wide audience. But this has come at a price, and most of it is just innocent and a lack of understanding of intellectual property rights. Most people just copy for “personal consumption,” meaning they save the image as a screen background or to look at in their own home. That is okay, until you use that image on your own webpage, facebook page or in any way that could be deemed “advertising.” And if you make a print of that image yourself, rather than buying it from the person who created the image, well, that’s not cool either.
UpWork has a great article that talks about licensing rights when you are looking for content to use in your advertising in print and online. You may have heard the term “Royalty Free Images.” This usually means that you can “use” the image a certain way for free. But read the fine print, you may be able to use it for personal consumption, but not for a commercial use.
If you are interested in some really great royalty free images, check out the New York Public Library Digital Collection. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/
Most of us artists don’t mind if you share our images on your social media pages, in fact, we encourage this behavior! But when you do, just make sure you tag or insert a link back to the artist so anyone else who is interested in the work can find it from the person who created it!