Pictures on the internet and copyright laws

Glenn W. Peterson

When California residents find pictures on the internet, they may not always consider the ownership of the picture. Not all images found online are available for public use and it is important to understand when a picture is being used illegally.

People may think that a picture is copyrighted only if it is accompanied by a copyright symbol. says that an image can be copyrighted even if there is no information that indicates this. If people find a picture on a website that is publicly available, they can usually save the image if they want it for their personal use. However, someone cannot give the image to others or print out copies of it. Some copyright information makes it clear how an image can be used. If people find a picture that has a Creative Commons license, they can typically use the picture if they give credit to the person who made the image.

In some situations, though, someone may not be able to use an image even when credit is given to the artist. says that when someone creates an image and puts it online, they can usually determine how other people use the image. This means that someone is using an image illegally if the artist has not approved its use.

Some people may find it best to use pictures that are already in the public domain. They should typically pay attention to the website providing the images, though, as some may require a user to give credit to the artist. It is also a good idea for people to contact the person who holds the copyright so they can request permission to use a picture.