If you discover an image that you want to use but you’re not sure of its origin or how to obtain a license from the owner, you can perform a Reverse Image Search using Google Images to locate the copyright holder. Remember, never use an image without first obtaining the proper license to use it.
A search on Google Images can be performed on either a desktop or mobile device. Because Google has an extremely large database with bots crawling new content daily, it’s arguably one of the best free sites you can utilize to track down the image ownership information. Google Images will also serve up similar photos that you may want to use in addition to the ones that you are looking for.
To perform a Reverse Image Search on a desktop computer, start by visiting the Google Images site and search for the image you are looking for in the following ways:
- Enter the URL to the image
- Upload an image to the search engine
- Use your microphone to search by voice
Searches can also be performed on a mobile device by visiting images.google.com. Depending on the browser you are using, you may need to select the option to “Request the Desktop Site” in order for Reverse Image Search functions to be displayed. Instructions on how to do this on all major browsers can be found here and here.
Utilizing the reverse search function on Google is also an easy and convenient way to find out if others are using your work without permission. We advise our clients to upload their photos and graphics from time to time to see if they pop up on any websites or platforms that were not authorized. For some more information on image searches and additional tools see this post by automated drop shipping platform Avasam.
Finally, if you are unsuccessful in locating the artist or creator behind a particular photo, that doesn’t mean that the image you want to use is free for the taking. You’d be better served by finding another image or stock photo that you can use with permission or through licensing to ensure that you don’t find yourself on the other end of an infringement suit down the road.
If you have questions about using an image that does not belong to you, or how to assert your copyright over images that you own that are being used on other sites without your permission, we invite you to contact our copyright attorneys at 888-666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.