Google Images: When Free Isn't Always Free

Most people get how companies like iStockphoto work: You find an image you like, and then you pay to use it. Google Images, on the other hand, can be a little more confusing, especially if you arenit familiar with copyright restrictions or who actually owns the image you want to use.

If you snag a picture you find via Google Images for strictly personal use, like as a Desktop image on your own Mac, odds are no one is going to complain about how you are using the image. If you use the image in a presentation, business materials, work of art, or other publicly displayed form, you can bet the designer is going to want their licensing fees -- and in some cases, the licensing may prohibit you from using the image in the way you want.

Just because Google Images finds me pictures of blue boats doesnit mean they are all free to use.

While Google Images will find content at stock image services, it also shows content it finds from other sources -- and just because a picture comes from some place other than iStockphoto or Getty Images, it doesnit mean itis OK to use any way you like.

Remember to find out who owns the images you want to use and honor their copyright and licensing restrictions. There are a lot of talented artists out on the Web, and they all deserve some respect for their efforts.

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