WHEN IN DOUBT, NO.
You wouldn’t pull a photo off National Geographic’s Website to promote your own business. But what about an image you find on Flickr, Instagram or Pinterest? The answer is still no…with some exceptions. And yet it’s easy to assume that freely shared images online are yours for the taking.
If you are using images pulled from the Internet without attribution or permission, there are two good reasons to stop the practice.
- Violating a creator’s rights, no matter who they are, is bad business. Flipping that around, providing an attribution and possibly a link (source, creator’s name, image title) demonstrates your generosity and respect for a creator’s work. And you’ll help educate others on proper image use.
- You don’t want to damage your reputation if the author of the image stumbles upon your Instagram feed. They might simply ask you to remove the image, or worse.