Q – “I took images from the Internet and now I can’t remember the sources. Can you help me find them?”

Q – “I took images from the Internet and now I can’t remember the sources. Can you help me find them?”

Q –

I wrote a book and got several dozen images from the Internet to put inside. My publisher just informed me that I need to obtain permission from the copyright holders for permission to use every single image. I don’t remember what websites I went to. I just found photos I liked and copied and pasted them into my manuscript.

I don’t know what to do! My publisher won’t find the sources of the photos for me and they also won’t send anyone letters asking if I or they have permission to use those photos. Is there a software program that can do this for me?

A – 

I must admit I get offended when I receive emails like this. Why in the world would a writer, who I’m certain is very interested in protecting her OWN intellectual property rights, feels that it’s okay to go to anyone’s website, pluck a photo or two, and insert them into her own book. I mean…what in the world was this author thinking?!

No, a publisher isn’t going to go online, and hunt for dozens of photos to see if they are in the public domain or not…nor will a publisher be interested in hunting down the copyright owners of those photos, and sending them all emails or letter.

In all likelihood, NONE of the photos the author used are in the public domain.

I advised the author to go back to square one. Use a reputable site like dreamstime.com, and BUY the rights to use photos there.


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One Response to "Q – “I took images from the Internet and now I can’t remember the sources. Can you help me find them?”"

  1. Diane  August 23, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    LOL! Great answer. On the other hand, if someone is really in love with the images they found, the source can usually be determined by using http://www.tineye.com. I often use this to find the origin and correctly attribute, or at least find the best-quality image. You can sort to find the earliest appearance of an image on the Internet, and that is usually the original. Often I find that the original source is a stock image company, so it helps me buy a license for the exact image I want. And sometimes the original is free. Hope that helps someone!