Anyone using Google Image Search tools will immediately notice that the search engine has created a significant update on its filter options. Copyright law protects the interests of artists, photographers, and owners of original works. It is to help them maintain ownership of their work and avoid another person or company to claim the work to be theirs. On top of that, it is to avoid another person or company from financially benefitting from an unpaid, yet licensed image.
On a different note, it is also a way to protect bloggers, writers, web developers, and even private individuals out there. Copyright law helps in preventing accidental misuse of images, videos, and other works that could lead to charges and lawsuits. Bloggers and writers must always be cautious when choosing an image to work with online.
What are Creative Commons?
Not all licensed work is exclusive for use. There are some which are allowed to be shared with the public. These kinds of work could be used, edited, built-up, or modified while keeping the license of the original work intact. In these cases, attribution is required for the original creator. These libraries of work are open access. However, these are usually for non-commercial copying. This means that anyone could reuse the photo but for works that are not going to profit from the work. Works under creative commons cannot be used for works like ads, commercials, videos, and more.
In the Google Search Image Tools, there are different filter settings to choose from. The first is ‘labeled for reuse’ which are images that could be used by anyone for anything as long as it is non-commercial. The second is ‘labeled for reuse with modification’. Comparing to the first filter, the original creators of these images allow the rebuilding of the original work. These are also free to use as long as they are non-commercial. The third is the ‘labeled for commercial reuse’, these are images that could be used but with a price. This means that these images could be purchased and used for a limited period for commercial purposes. The fourth and last kind is the ‘labeled for commercial reuse with modification’, which is the same thing but the original owner allows the rebuilding of an image.
Why did Google change Image Search Tools Settings?
The image search settings are now divided into two general categories: Creative commons works and commercial use works. All four categories from the old image search settings were merged into two general categories. Images in creative commons filter could be seen that there are ‘licensable’ badges at the bottom. Clicking on the licensing details will lead to a page that shows users what they can do to the image. This makes it easier for bloggers to avoid future legal issues for using a licensed image. For instance, images from Wikimedia Commons could be used for free as seen in the screenshots below.
The Google Image Search settings were changed maybe to pave the way for the search engine’s new feature. Now, images on Google could be ‘licensable’. The search engine has launched a new ‘licensable’ badge feature where images for commercial reuse are easy to identify from the results page. On the search results, the images that could be purchased for commodified use has a ‘licensable’ badge at the bottom. When the user clicks on the image, they would be led to where the image could be purchased.
The company has done so to make sure that not only would the original photographer of the image be attributed, they could also be paid properly for their work. Remember, it is helpful not only for the original image owner but also for the bloggers that manage sites. There should always be cautious when copying work online. This way, it is easy to communicate purchase details to potential users. It could also reduce image theft and possible plagiarism charges from accidentally using licensed images.
How important is licensing to Google?
Almost anything can be found on the internet. It could be music, videos, images, information, or almost anything. Since the internet is such a wide pool of resources, a certain source or data be inevitably reused by another person for another purpose. Unrestricted access to information and data has been a problem for decades, on top of the fact that it does create an additional string of issues.
Image owners or original uploaders of an image has the right to license their images. Copyrighting work is not a new trend. In fact, the fight towards the unfair use and reuse of materials, sources, information, and more had been in continuous discussion since the prevalence of the internet. Providing permission for use to only one person is exclusive copyright while allowing more than one person to reuse data is non-exclusive copyright.