Use of Other People's Photos/Images

19 replies
Hey all.

I know this isn't the right place for legal advice, but this is the best place for me to ask this question right now.

I am going to be making a small short ebook with recipes in it. I want to add some images to make it look nicer, and want to use other people's because not only is it "easier" to do so, but also because the majority of food photography photos are really high quality.

A mentor of mine actually uses their exact recipes (maybe some slight modifications here and there), and uses their exact photos, but she does credit where the recipe and photo is from.

I still don't think this is right, because you are monetizing other people's work, and although it can be argued that you give them free exposure, it still doesn't seem that ethical.

Is there a place where you can get solid food photos for cheap? Or what are your guys' opinion on this?

I also see that people do this quite often, "using" other people's work like this and explicitly saying that it is not their own. As such, it is a way to to monetize the curation of other people's work...

Need some help. Thanks in advance!
#people #photos or images
  • Profile picture of the author DanielBlue
    I use photodune.net. The small sized photos are only $1.
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  • Profile picture of the author drem
    Free "exposure" won't do you much good if the owners of the image claim copyright infringement.

    I just checked out a few stock image sites for food pictures and they're very expensive.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmanD
    Contact the owners of the photos you wish to use and ask their permission. You can offer to pay them if necessary.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bryan Is Young
    What confuses me is my coach does this. She's pretty well known, I'm going to keep her anonymous though.

    I am stumped by this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cali16
    Originally Posted by Bryan Is Young View Post


    A mentor of mine actually uses their exact recipes (maybe some slight modifications here and there), and uses their exact photos, but she does credit where the recipe and photo is from.

    I still don't think this is right, because you are monetizing other people's work, and although it can be argued that you give them free exposure, it still doesn't seem that ethical.
    I'm not an attorney, just to be clear. But I'm pretty sure that what your mentor is doing would be considered copyright violation. Merely giving credit isn't enough. My understanding is that you must always obtain permission to use someone else's images or content.

    If I were you, I'd find a new mentor asap. What she's doing isn't just unethical, it could eventually land her in some legal hot water. Using the excuse that you're "giving them free exposure" doesn't justify stealing other people's images or content.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Get a new mentor/coach. The one you have now doesn't understand copyright law or basic ethics.

    Find public domain images, pictures and clipart you can use, or buy them. Be creative. You don't have to always show a picture of the exact food. For example, for a recipe for spaghetti sauce you can show a picture of tomatoes or Italy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
      Just ask her and find out what she says.

      From what you have written, this is just a copyright infringement action waiting to happen.

      Mentors and coaches are human beings too. maybe she has an arrangement with the people whose photos she is using, maybe she doesn't know what the rules are. But the only way you are going to know is to ask. Unless you have done that already and you are not satisfied with the answer she gave.

      There is no reason to make her non-anonymous, but this is a serious thing and if you are following someone whose advice could lead you into legal difficulties, you would be well served to find another mentor.
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  • Profile picture of the author seoboyz01
    You should be able to find public domain and free to use food photos here:
    Food - Free Images on Pixabay
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Candice886 View Post

    You can ask help from Fiverr and buy service out there, very cheap and the pic is unique.
    I would avoid this. There have been many instances of people being sued, and/or fined, and/or losing their websites, that way, when it's turned out that something they bought there in good faith turned out still to be a breach of someone else's original copyright. Very high-risk indeed.


    Originally Posted by Bryan Is Young View Post

    I also see that people do this quite often, "using" other people's work like this and explicitly saying that it is not their own.
    Some of them may have permission.

    I agree unreservedly with the comments above about getting a new mentor: this one has an inadequate understanding of law, ethics and morals.

    Pixabay (as mentioned above) is a good source of photos, many of which can be used without payment or attribution, even for commercial purposes. And there are several other, similar, sources. Be aware, though, that if such sites have made a mistake with a photo and announced it as "freely available" when it isn't, then its reproducers will still be liable to the copyright-owner for any breaches of copyright.

    If you use the forum's search function to look in the Main Marketing Forum and Website Design forums for threads with the words "images" and "photos" in their titles, you'll quickly find lists of other sites like Pixabay, which might help, too.


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  • Profile picture of the author KirkMcD
    Since we're on the subject, while the list of ingredients and their proportions may not be copyrightable, the wording of the directions on how they are combined is and you can't just change a word or two to get around that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Buy the recipe ingredients, have your significant other prepare them for a meal, then take your own photos. It's perfectly legal! Or pay someone to do all the above for you.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author fern
    It's not worth it to use the photos without their permission. Either use photos that are licensed to use in for profit or get their permission.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bryan Is Young
    Thanks a lot guys, much appreciated.

    I did ask her and she think's it's okay, because she "credits her source".

    I'll find some free photos I guess! Or buy them for $1 each. I do feel they may be a little bit of a waste if I just buy them and use them once though. Anyone know of any other uses for stock photos, while we are on the subject?
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Bryan Is Young View Post

      Thanks a lot guys, much appreciated.

      I did ask her and she think's it's okay, because she "credits her source".

      I'll find some free photos I guess! Or buy them for $1 each. I do feel they may be a little bit of a waste if I just buy them and use them once though. Anyone know of any other uses for stock photos, while we are on the subject?
      Depending on the license and if it allows multiple uses for an image, use them in videos.

      And crediting the source is not a legal defense for using copyrighted media. She's confusing plagiarism with all forms of copyright violations.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brad Gosse
    Save yourself lots of headaches and hire someone to test/shoot the recipes for you. If you want a killer e-book you should be testing the recipes anyway. Why not have a semi pro shoot them for you?

    My wife wrote a vegan cookbook and I photographed all the recipes myself.

    Put in the work
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    • Profile picture of the author seoboyz01
      Originally Posted by Brad Gosse View Post

      Save yourself lots of headaches and hire someone to test/shoot the recipes for you. If you want a killer e-book you should be testing the recipes anyway. Why not have a semi pro shoot them for you?

      My wife wrote a vegan cookbook and I photographed all the recipes myself.

      Put in the work
      Sometimes, the simplest and most direct ideas are the best.
      Using your own photos is the easiest idea to work with, whatever niche, not just food ebooks.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        I did ask her and she thinks it's okay, because she "credits her source".
        Seriously - you need a new mentor.

        She puts YOU at risk if what she is "teaching" is the "I think it's all right" method. It will be OK only until someone calls her out on doing that...then it could be a real problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    If you are going to use other people's images, I would ask for permission.

    If you have some money on the side, why don't you hire someone to create your own unique photos and images?
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    • Profile picture of the author WSS
      You could use Google image search and under the search bar click 'usage rights' and select the ones available for reuse. Don't stop there though. Visit the site the image is hosted on and read their usage policy. They are not always what Google says. If anything is vague in any way I would find a contact address and ask them if it is can be used commercially.

      Many of the images labeled for reuse during a Google image search are on the website: Wikimedia Commons and you can read the usage rights and contact the "original uploader". Of course there is no way of knowing if they are the original uploader.

      Many times on wikimedia.org the files were taken from Flickr. Wikimedia may say they are free to be used but you will still want to go to the original Flickr source and make sure that is the case. If it's not clear, message the original uploader on Flickr and ask.

      For example; this picture of an apple pie is linked from Flickr. Wikimedia says it's just fine to reuse but you would still want to follow the breadcrumbs all the way back to the source and double check.

      While this one was uploaded to wikimedia directly.

      Some are in the public domain because they were taken by a governmental agency.

      To be extra safe you can also reverse search the image on TinEye Reverse Image Search and/or Reverse Image Search by Image Raider - Track Photo Usage

      There is a lot of research to be done if you wish to lift images from the internet. Even then it can be a bit of a grey area.

      There certainly are public domain images that are free to reuse commercially, but you better do your homework before you slap it in your ebook.
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