There is a general belief, across all forms of social media, that it is ok to share someone else's work with your own followers, if you properly credit the owner of the image and I will be honest, I have done this too.  But it always feels wrong to me I will give you an example to explain why.

Let's say for example, you have a business and you have spent hours styling a beautiful image to show off your skills and send a very specific message about your brand, to your community.  You may have spent money on props to include in it. You may even have done a Photography course to ensure you can take a great photo for Instagram, or perhaps you are a Photographer and pictures are your business.  You have also carefully considered how the image works with the others on your page.  Now let's assume the image is amazing and it rightly attracts a lot of attention on Instagram.  You feel proud of your work and excited that your community is understanding more about what you and your business is all about.

But then, one day, you receive notification that you have been tagged by someone else on Instagram.  Of course, you check it out, only to find that another business has your image on their page.  You have never heard of this person and certainly never gave them permission to use your image.  

How would you feel?  

Of course you would feel slighted and you have every right to.  Why, when you were credited? Well this is the part that everyone refers to as being a grey area, but really it isn't; you can't share the images of others, regardless of how you came upon them or what Apps there are to make it possible for you to do so and even if you give them credit, without asking.  

I grant you, most people will never challenge someone for sharing their work and correctly crediting them.  In fact many people are flattered and see it as a way of getting their name out there.  But if challenged, you will always be in the wrong for having done it, because it infringes copyright law and its just not very nice.

Instead, we encourage you to value everyone's creative work and to ask for permission to share what you see.  If you find something you think your Followers should see, ask the person who owns the image if you can share it (and how they would like to be credited).  More often than not you will get a yes and in the process, you will have made a connection with someone whose work you admire and appreciate and they will appreciate you right back.  Remember though that even if you have permission you should not alter the image or give anyone the impression that it is your own.  

A note to our Library Members about using images; as a Styled Images Library member you are free to use and edit our images without crediting Styled Images.  They are yours to get creative with!  Read our full Terms of Use.

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