Google Images warning

Google images warning

If your business has a blog or a presence on social media sites, then you probably use Google Images to find suitable images to accompany your posts. However, be careful which images you choose.

A client of ours has had to pay a copyright breach fine for an image that they’d used on their Facebook business page.

Google Images gives you the option to search for images that are “Labeled for reuse”. See screenshot below.

If you select either of the two “Labeled for reuse” options, then you might reasonably assume that the images which you find can be copied and shared for your commercial purposes.

But this is not always so!

When you select “Labeled for reuse”, Google simply filters the images by the “labels” it claims to have found along with the image. The images may indeed be free to use, but there might be restrictions or requirements which you need to adhere to in order to use that image.

To be sure that the image is genuinely free to use you need to select it and then click on “Visit’ – an option to the righthand side of the picture.

If you click through to the page containing the image, you’ll see if there are any specifications regarding its use. For example, the artist may require you to give them attribution and/or share a link to the licence which authorises its reuse.

If you’re going to take images from Google Images, ALWAYS click through to the original image source and check the details. And follow the instructions to the letter.

There are several companies out there who actively seek out copyright breaches on behalf of their clients and impose hefty fines.

So, what can you use instead of Google images?


Pixabay has a good database of free images. Under the Pixabay License you are granted an irrevocable, worldwide, non-exclusive and royalty-free right to use, download, copy, modify or adapt the images and videos for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Attribution of the photographer or Pixabay isn’t required but is appreciated.


Unsplash is a website dedicated to sharing stock photography under the Unsplash license.  All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

You don’t need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash but it’s appreciated if you do.


If you’re looking for video content and don’t mind paying, Pond5 has the world’s largest collection of royalty-free stock video footage, with music and motion graphics which are reasonably priced.

Image by TheDigitalArtist on Pixabay.