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Blogging and Citizen Journalism Etiquette : Images


By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 18, 2008

Comments (5)

Blogging has become easier and more attractive in recent years to a number of people who run their own businesses.

While many use blogging as a tool for self-promotion, it is also a fantastic way to comment on things that are happening of interest to you on other blogs or websites, creating community and bonds through niceties I'd like to call blogging and citizen journalism etiquette.

Blackboard Thank You Note

Today we'll talk a bit about the use of images on blogs, in newsletters, and on websites.

For our purposes there are three kinds of images:

1. Images you own already
2. Images for sale
3. Images owned by other entities


If you took a picture of something, designed an image or are the image subject and have the image in your possession, you can use it for whatever you like.

For instance, I could upload a headshot that I've had taken or graphics from the Voices.com website and I'd be in the clear. Why? Because we own them.

Here's an image that David designed for our website.

Join Voices.com


Images you have bought or licensed are good examples of work that is not your own but now belongs to you to use in an agreed upon manner.

Think of it like when you are recording for a client and they want a full-buyout. If you have bought the full rights to an image, you can use it indefinitely for any purpose, but if you have only licensed it, you may have some restrictions with the usage, including how you can use it, where, when and for how long.

Here's an image I bought specifically from a seller on iStockphoto.com to demonstrate this point. The rights belong to the artist Andrey Volodin. I have a standard Content License Agreement to use this image of the Easter Bunny surrounded by eggs:

Easter Bunny Eggs


As a professional voice actor, you wouldn't want someone using your audio demos off of your website without crediting you as the source, would you?

Alternatively, if they said you were the origin of the clip or voice over and had the courtesy to link to your website, it would be OK, wouldn't it?

You'd be getting publicity (priceless) and recognition for your talent while also being given a link that may bring you new business.

Below is an image I have found owned by someone else, a different entity.

To properly acknowledge where it came from, all I need to do is check for any restrictions of use, and if I don't find any, mention where I got it and include a link to the source. You can mention those details either in the body of your text or at the bottom as a footnote.

If you read Voice Over Times, you have likely noticed that all of the material is sourced and includes a link back to the source. Similarly, any iStockphoto artist whose image we have purchased and featured is credited as per the iStockphoto requirements at the bottom of each VOX Daily post.

The image I am about to show you is from a website I have become very interested in called Etsy, a marketplace for all things handmade.

This image, specifically, is from an Etsy seller's shop called Sweetbeets, a company that makes letterpress cards with childhood themes for birthdays, baby announcements, and cards that are "just because".


I look forward to writing about other aspects of blogging and journalism etiquette. Next, we'll look at the value of links.

Did you enjoy this article?

Best wishes,


©©©iStockphoto.com/Christine Balderas (blackboard image)

Related Topics: blogging, blogs, child, etiquette, image, images, journalism, newsletters, websites


    Stephanie, thank you so much for mentioning Sweetbeets in your post today!

    Posted by:
    • Lisa
    • March 18, 2008 12:41 PM


      Another terrific and informative post. Thank you for all that you do to help all of us.

      Be well,

      Posted by:

        What my pal Bob said!!!
        All the Best,
        Bobbin Beam

        Posted by:

          Greetings, Stephanie,

          As usual, I took your blog ideas to heart. I am already using my personal logo in place of a photo (WAY more memorable!) which was created for me 20 years ago, but still works like a charm to make people remember who I am (my first name, Robin, where the "o" is a bird's head with a tiny open beak and a word balloon). I am also signed up as a seller on Etsy--thank you for spending the time to surf around and come up with the best ideas and the best web sites for everything! Your blogs are invaluable.

          Posted by:
          • Robin Rowan
          • March 19, 2008 12:10 PM


            Thank you all for your lovely comments.

            I received an email from one of our VOX Daily readers and it rightly said that not only is the article about etiquette, it is really about legal use!

            As Marti said you can get busted for etiquette, not sued.

            I find that the word etiquette is also appropriate though as most companies would rather be the recipient of publicity if the review or article is favorable. The use of their image with appropriate links back to their site is invaluable for driving new business and promotes consistent branding.

            This is certainly a topic worthy of further debate in this Web 2.0 world we find ourselves in.

            As a side bar, I'm using the word etiquette as part of a series on the rules of the road of blogging. You'll see it again. I find it's a word that is approachable, friendly and firmly rooted (also, it's not scary!).

            It is true that you cannot assume because an image is on the Internet that it is fair game, however, there are safe, legal ways that have been recognized in recent years such as Creative Commons, for instance. That fits in line with the third example featuring the image from the Etsy shop, Sweetbeets. There are also Creative Commons photos available at Flickr, if you're interested. Fair Use is something we'll also touch on in future article.

            Thank you!


            Posted by:

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