Originally Posted by waynemorrise
If it is presented in Google or all other social networking sites. It is probably non-copyright protected
Actually, most of the images you see on social networking sites are
copyright protected. It's just that the copyright owners have decided to not pursue everybody who clicks the button to share with their friends.
In fact, some of them believe that social sharing can give their images a wider audience and make them potentially more valuable than they would otherwise be.
However, just because they allow people to share the images on Facebook doesn't mean they'll be equally forgiving if you try to use the image on a T-shirt you're going to sell, or as an illustration on your business website, or in any other use where the image helps you
make money. In that case, I'm sure many would expect -- and could legally demand -- a licensing fee.
As to images that appear in Google, there are plenty of copyright holders who have tried over the years to sue Google for copyright violation for displaying their images in image search. Google usually gets off, not because the images aren't copyrighted, but because Google is held to be not the "publisher" -- they're simply an information conduit.
However, that doesn't mean the images that appear in image search on Google aren't covered by copyright. It just means that Google
isn't violating copyright by displaying them. Anyone who copies an image they find there and publishes it somewhere else (website, blog, software, tshirt, coffee mug, greeting card, etc.) is running a real risk.