Are All Images on Google Copyrighted?

Are all images on google copyrighted

Many people use Google Images to grab a quick photo for their blog or social media post. But what they don’t realize is that they could be in for a big legal mess if they don’t have permission to use the image.

Copyright infringement can result in fines and other penalties. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid this with a little research before you hit the search engines.


When it comes to images, there is a common misconception that just because they are online, they are free for the taking. This is not the case. Online images are protected by copyright just as much as pictures hanging in art galleries are. If you use an image without permission, the owner can file a copyright infringement lawsuit against you. And that’s no joke – violating copyright can be very expensive.

Copyright infringement is an important issue that can harm your business or organization’s reputation and financial health. To avoid it, it is best to always use royalty free or Creative Commons licensed images. It’s also important to be aware of how to search for those images and understand the rules for attribution.

To protect their intellectual property, many photographers and artists will include a watermark on their images. This watermark is a digital signature that identifies the work as copyrighted and prohibits its use. You can easily identify copyrighted photos by looking for a watermark when doing a search. Moreover, many photographers and artists will require a link back to their website when using their work for any reason. This may not be required if you are using the photo for scholarly purposes or other non commercial reasons, but it is still good practice to ask first.

Whether you’re sourcing images for a website, brochure or blog, ignoring copyright laws could cost you big time. If you accidentally use an image without permission and the image owner notices, they can send you a cease and desist letter demanding payment or a link back to their website and possibly sue you for a large amount of money. This is why it’s so important to learn the basics of copyright infringement law before you start sourcing visual content for your business or organization.

The good news is that avoiding unknowingly using copyrighted images has never been easier. Google has updated their image search to make it easy to find and filter images based on their licensing. To access the new feature, simply enter your search term in the search bar and click ‘Images.’ Then select the option ‘Usage rights’ to filter images by their license type – free for commercial use, Creative Commons licensed or no license at all.

If you don’t select a search filter for usage rights, Google will display all images that meet your search criteria. However, the search results will be labeled with a warning that says ‘images may be subject to copyright’.

Another way to find copyright-free images is to visit a stock image site. These sites offer a wide selection of high-quality photos that are free to use under certain conditions. Most of these sites require you to credit the image creator and provide a link back to their website or portfolio. In addition, some images on these websites are licensed for commercial use and will have an extra fee attached to them.


There are no exceptions to copyright – every single image, photo, blog post and piece of creative work gains copyright protection as soon as it is created. As a result, any unauthorised use of these works can lead to serious legal consequences for those who don’t respect copyright laws and take advantage of others’ hard work. Often, this can include being sued for the recovery of statutory damages, plus attorney fees and court costs.

While it is possible to legally use images that have been published under the ‘Fair Use’ clause (which allows brief excerpts of copyrighted material for parody, new technologies, commentary, criticism or other transformative uses), this doesn’t mean that you can just go out and download any image off Google. The copyright holder can send you a Cease and Desist notice or request payment and/or attribution, and if you ignore them they may sue you for copyright infringement.

As a result, you must make sure that any images you use are not subject to copyright, and this includes not just searching on Google but also scanning other sites like free stock photo websites. These sites provide high-resolution photos that you can use under certain licence terms – but always check the details of the image and the license on its original site to ensure that it is legitimate and not a scam.

The good news is that, if you are careful, it is actually very easy to find images for your website or blog that are copyright-free. Google has started to incorporate image licensing data directly into its search results, so you can filter your searches by Usage Rights to only show photos that have been made available under a licence such as Creative Commons.

To do this, search for your desired image on Google as usual, and then click Tools. You will then see the option to sort your search results by Usage Rights, with a default setting of ‘Allow commercial use’. You can also choose to only show images that have been licensed for either Single or Multi-seat Licensing.

A Single-seat licence allows one individual to access the image and use it for any purpose, while a Multi-seat licence gives you permission to share the image with up to 5 other individuals within your organisation.

In addition to this, you can also filter for images that have been specifically licenced for Creative Commons 4.0, which allows for the free non-commercial reuse of content with a credit and link back to the image’s source. However, you should note that there are still restrictions on what you can do with the image – for example, you cannot modify it or create derivative works based on it.

Similar Posts