I read a scary and important post at Roni Loren's blog today that nearly made me throw up in fright.
You can be sued for using pics on your blog.
Pics you don't own, pics you don't have permission to use, pics that are still in copyright.
In a nutshell, unless you took the photos yourself, or you have paid a fee and have permission to use them, you can't use them.
As an author, I am a creator too. I should darn well know better than to use someone else's stuff without permission.
When I make a trailer, I buy the pictures from a stock image site and I know I have permission to use them because I paid for it. The trailer doesn't directly make money, but it's using someone else's artistic endeavours to promote my books and further my career.
I used music in the trailer that was already in the trailer-creator's media bank of copyright-free music.
When I made business cards, I used their stock cartoon image they already had of a ferret, and used their fonts that were already in their system.
And yet, I didn't do this with the blog. I got lazy. I got careless. I might not have been aware of breaching copyright but I should have been. Sure, I often credited where I'd nicked the picture from, but that isn't the same as getting permission.
Luckily for me, I didn't get sued.
I am so sorry this happened to Roni, but I'm glad she was able to share her experiences with others so that knuckleheads like me - educated people who should know better - don't hash things up.
For now, I have taken all the previous articles off the blog and will be re-posting them over time, either with photos I have taken, photos I've paid for, or no photos at all.