Image & Picture Sourcing - How To Do It Properly

So you've found the perfect piece of art to represent your character, or the perfect photo for your faceclaim, or you have an incredible piece of art you want to share. But before you go uploading it to your blog or site, do you know how to properly credit - or, how to find the original source if you don't have it already?

Things you need to watch out for.

Some places, such as free wallpaper, icon, and anime image gallery sites may seem like legitimate sources, but they're actually pretty likely to host stolen images. That cute anime image you found on Zerochan may actually be stolen from someone's DeviantArt gallery. Basically, any time you see art of any kind, and you don't see a name credited anywhere, be aware that you're possibly looking at stolen art.

What you need to do.

Assuming that the creator is okay with you posting the image elsewhere, your credits need to include the name or online moniker of the original artist, or if it's from a stock photo site, the name of the website. It must also link back to the artist's original work or gallery. Simply linking back to the Pinterest, Tumblr, or whatever page you found the image on isn't enough, nor is it enough to simply post "Image isn't mine, credit goes to creator!" or similar.

Don't know the source? Don't fret, there are ways to find it!

How to find an image's source.

You have your image, but there's just one problem: you found it floating around uncredited on a site like Tumblr or Pinterest and you have no idea where the image originally came from. What do?

Google's Image Search makes it a lot easier to track down the original source of an image. To use it thus, go to Google Images and click the camera icon on the right side of the search box. Now, where is the picture you want to look up?

The image is on the Internet: Either drag and drop the image you want to search for into the box from another tab/window, OR right-click on the image you want to search for and select "Copy Image URL," "Copy Image Location," or whatever equivalent your browser has. Paste it into the search box and click "Search by image."

The image is stored on my computer: Click "Upload an image" and upload the picture from your computer.

Google will show you pages that use the image you've searched for - and with luck, the page it originally came from.

Okay, I found it. Now what?

Find out what kind of copyrights and policies the creator has for xir images, or if the picture is traced back to a stock art/photo site, what policies the site has. Find out whether you're allowed to use the image unconditionally, or whether you need to provide a link back, or whether use of the images is restricted altogether. If you can't find a clear answer, try to contact the creator or website. What ever the terms are or whatever the answer you get is, respect them/it. If the creator doesn't allow reproduction of the image, just post a link.

You might also be interested in:

The 'Fair Use' Rule: When Use of Copyrighted Material is Acceptable (Offsite)

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