“Can I Use Somebody Else’s Photo/Artwork if I Flip it Horizontally?”

“Can I Use Somebody Else’s Photo/Artwork if I Flip it Horizontally?”


I am still working to get my illustrations for my book. Can you advise on something I was told by my illustrator? She told me that most photos copied from the Internet can be flipped horizontally to alleviate concerns of copyright infringement. For example if a mountain appears on the left side of the photograph, flip the photo so the mountain is on the right side. I also wonder if applying artistic effects to a photo (pencil sketch, smooth pastel, etc.) would eliminate concern of issues. I was given five websites for Royalty Free photos and images that are free of charge. Do you have any recommendations for me?

I appreciate your guidance.


Your illustrator is COMPLETELY WRONG! I can’t believe she is telling authors that nonsense! And, she’s putting authors at risk of lawsuits to boot! Flipping a photo does NOT take away the creator’s copyrights.

Remember that iconic red, white and blue Obama “Hope Poster?” That image was taken from an Associated Press photo. Not only was the “artist” sued by the Associated Press but he was also prosecuted. Please send THIS LINK (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_%22Hope%22_poster) to your illustrator.

And, I never recommend using royalty free sites. Many of those have stolen images on them. And, if you use an illegal image in your book, YOU may get sued. They probably won’t. Don’t use images in your book that were taken for free from the Internet. The risk is just too great.

Only use trusted, legitimate sources that pay the creators of each image when they get paid. Istockphoto.com and Dreamstime.com are ones we use.


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One Response to "“Can I Use Somebody Else’s Photo/Artwork if I Flip it Horizontally?”"

  1. pamelaallegretto  October 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    This is great advice. I wish more people would take it, instead of “lifting” art and photos off the Internet without permission.