For the most part, people believe that it is ethical to use an image in publications (print, blog, Pinterest and other social media outlets) as long as:
1. the source is credited,
2. a disclaimer is written on your site (“This site claims no ownership or credit of images on this blog… blah blah blah”)
2. the writer/blogger links back to the artist/photographer from which the image originated.
I always believed this until yesterday. I highly recommend everyone and anyone who publishes anything on print and online to read this post and the ordeal romance novel author Roni Loren had to go through because of one innocent oversight.
Since I started blogging and using sites like Pinterest, my lawyer husband has advised me against posting images “borrowed” from Google Images and other “open” sites on the web.
I am posting this article by an author who got into a legal mess because of an image she casually used on her blog with no other intentions other than to use images with her text.
Some people say as long as it was not used for commercial gain or if no damage has been done to the photographer then there’s no use kicking up a fuss. Some say if you post it on the web then expect it to get used without consent.
Legally, if you use an image without explicit permission and written acknowledgment from the source to use for your own purposes (whether for personal or commercial endeavors), then you are instantly infringing on one’s intellectual rights.
I think at the end of the day, it’s a matter of virtue: Do not get what does not belong to you. It’s called stealing. And if you really want to use the image, just ask.