Pixabay search is a great tool for anyone who writes content for paid to write web sites. Pixabay offers over 600,000 public domain photos and graphics to illustrate your articles. All the images are completely free to use, and the quality of many is very professional. It takes just seconds to use a Pixabay search to find a suitable illustration for your content – but you do need to know how to avoid the pitfall of accidentally choosing a copyrighted image from the site!
Pixabay Search Includes Copyrighted Images
Every Pixabay search result includes a top row of high quality photos that are labelled “Sponsored images.” You’ll also see that same phrase on the image page itself, next to the related images at the side.
If you look carefully, you’ll notice that each of these sponsored images is watermarked “Shutterstock.” That’s because Shutterstock is a sponsor of the Pixabay web site and is serving up some alternative, royalty-free images that you could use them in your article if you wanted to.
But you’d have to pay for a license!
That’s because Shutterstock content – unlike Pixabay’s content – is not public domain. You generally have to pay a one-time licensing fee to use royalty-free graphics, so they aren’t free to use. And unless you want to pay that fee, you aren’t legally permitted to use these images in your articles.
Never Save Directly from the Pixabay Search Results
If you save an image directly from the thumbnails on a Pixabay search results page, you risk not seeing that an image is copyrighted. If you click on the thumbnail to open the image on its own page, you can avoid that problem.
Because clicking on a public domain Pixabay image will open a page with the photo and the licensing info (the page you’d want to link to, in an image credit!)
Clicking on a Shutterstock image will open a page that is clearly marked “Shutterstock.” The image will be larger and the watermark more obvious. This warns you that the Shutterstock image is protected, and that you need to fulfill some kind of requirements before you can use it. (In this case, it’s paying to use the image.)
Always Use the Download Button
After you’ve clicked on an image from your Pixabay search, always use the download button to save the photo to your computer for use in your article. This offers you even more protection. Never use the right-click to save photos from Pixabay!
Why? Because even if you’ve somehow managed to miss all the other signs that your preferred image isn’t safe to use, Shutterstock will prevent you from accidentally downloading a copyrighted image. Instead, you’ll be taken to the page that gives their subscription fees. I think that’s a pretty clear sign the photo isn’t yours to take for free!
Using the precaution of always loading the image from your Pixabay search into its own page and always using the download button, will keep you safe when choosing images to illustrate your articles. Be sure you’ll always find a free to use, public domain image on Pixabay. And avoid the problems associated with accidentally downloading a copyrighted photo that you don’t have permission to use!
Featured Image Credit: Beware the watermarked photos in Pixabay search results! by Michal Jarmoluk, courtesy of Pixabay; CC0 1.0
Header Image Credit: Choosing free-to-use images by Michal Jarmoluk, courtesy of Pixabay; CC0 1.0
Banner Courtesy of Pixabay
Note: This article was originally published by me on the now defunct EliteVisitors web site