If you're like me, then you prefer reserving blocks of text for your novels, not your blog posts. And thanks to Google it's ridiculously easy to find hundreds (if not thousands) of photos that can provide visual stimulation for just about any blog post topic. But here's the deal-- just because a picture pops up on Google doesn't mean it's yours to use.
I'd heard this before, but didn't take heed until I read several stories from authors and other people who posted an image onto their blog, only to have the owner of the photograph come back and sue for payment.
It didn't matter that the blogger didn't make money from the photo. It didn't matter that the blogger took the photo down as soon as they were contacted by the photographer. What mattered was that they had used the image, and for that reason and that reason alone the owner of the photo had the right to sue for payment.
Check out this post by author Roni Loren which does an excellent job of spelling out the risks associated with using a pic you don't have rights to.
The message is clear: you can get sued for using pictures on your blogs without permission. Period.
Based on this, I've decided to take Roni's advice and pull down most of the photos from my posts. The only ones I've left up are book images or logos for things I'm helping to promote.
I hope you'll forgive my naked blog posts moving forward. They may not be as pretty, but I'd rather not take the risk.