Are you using Copyright images?

Google is the largest search engine in the market today.

As per, In January 2020 Google accounted for a market share of 87.35 percent while Bing accounted for 5.53 percent of the global search market and the Chinese search engine Baidu’s market share was 0.07 percent only.

Anything that you want is available on Google at the click of a button.

While anything and everything is available too easily on Google, we consider as if it’s FREE.

This is very common especially when we look out for Images online.

While some images might be Free to use, others might be subject to copyright which means one must have the prior permission of the owner or the license to use before they can put-to-use such image or images.

There can be various types of licenses. The most common are

  • One time use only
  • use with modification
  • use without modification

Using copyright images without the permission of the owner can land you into troubled waters.

Not just the monetary damage but it can damage your reputation & goodwill as well.

In case an employee has not obtained permission or the license from the owner,  in that case it is the business owner who would be help legal responsible.

The penalties are harsh and they depend upon the laws of the jurisdiction where the infringement occurs.

In United States, if the copyright holder or the legal owner is successful in implementing the law suit against you, along with the civil damages one might end up paying statutory damages as well to a maximum of $150,000 or Imprisonment for five years or both.

For further knowledge & understanding on Copyright you may also read

In India, photographs are protected under copyright law as artistic work under section 2(c) of the Copyright Act 1957.

As per section 25 of the Copyright Act, 1957 the duration of copyright protection is 60 years.

The time commences from the date on which the photograph is clicked.

However for copyright protection, the registration is important but not mandatory.

Copy right commences as soon as the work is created, in this case as soon as the photograph is clicked.

How does the owner of the image knows if his image is being elsewhere?

This is possible with the Reverse Image Search Technology.

It seems this technology was initially built to help e-commerce stores where customers can search by the images and shop for the exact or the related products.

As a photographer, you yourself can make use of this technique and save your art from being easily copied or misused without your knowledge.

Type “Reverse Image search” and you would find a lot of website to your aide.

With the reverse image search not only can you find duplicate but modified copies of your images, if any!

How to do a reverse image search?

Go to Google and Type “Reverse Image Search”

Choose any from the options of websites available.

For this article I chose to select this website- Tineye

Get Started

Go to

Drag & Drop, upload or paste the image on your desktop to the search bar

As an experiment I uploaded a Photograph shot by me during a workshop and since the photograph was unique, there were 0 matching results.

I tried searching the famous image of Monalisa and I got the following result

“Similar or modified image was found on 42,995 websites along with the names of the website where such image was hosted”.

Do try yourself and let me know the results.

Do these websites save images that we upload?

Ideally the answer should be NO. But one should check before uploading the image file.

TinEye neither saves not indexes your images.


Getting back to the our topic.

How to download images from Google Search?

  1. Go to Google and type your query in the search bar and hit the search button or press the enter key


  1. Click on Images

  1. Click on Tools and Filter “usage rights”

  1. Select “labelled for Reuse”

In case you want to modify an Image, just select “Label for reuse with modification” and where you are using images for other than Non Commercial use- you should not select either of the two

  • Labelled for non-commercial reuse with modification
  • Labelled for non-commercial reuse

Depending on the option you select above, you will get a separate set of images.

In to summarize quickly, we learnt that…

  • Not all images are free. Images might be subject to copyright
  • It is always a good practice to obtain prior permission or license before using a copyright image
  • Copyright violations involves harsh penalties
  • In India on Copyright is contained in The Copyright Act, 1957
  • Copyright starts from the date when a photograph is clicked
  • The India law provides copyright for 60 years

We also discussed:

  • How Images are tracked
  • How to Track on our own
  • What is the correct way to download images from Google

I hope you like this article.

If this article was useful to you, let me know by dropping a comment below.

See you soon.

Till then stay safe, stay positive.


Hitesh K

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