A source for thousands of public domain imagesCredit: Pixabay Screen
Content writers should incorporate images into their articles. Pixabay fills a need by offering quality images that are declared to be in the public domain. This means that the images are available for anyone to use for any purpose. Pixabay establishes a sharing site where creators can store their work and publishers can download such photographs, clip art or graphic that they require. These can then be published on commercial sites or used as the starting point for other digital images. Pixabay ensures that people using the images are not violating any licenses.
In the early days of the Internet, adding a photo to a web page was a simple process of finding an image that fit an article, copy the image and publish the post. Now although the publishing process is simpler, the image acquisition process is much harder. Truthfully, in the past many people were violating the digital rights of others, often without knowing it. Now digital rights are very important and publishers can be held liable for violations. There are many stories of unsuspecting publishers being pursued for significant amounts of money simply because a photo was used by someone not authorized to do so.
All content authors should ensure that they publish work that is their own or that they have publishing rights for. This is no different than writers ensuring that they are not guilty of plagiarism. The Internet makes it easy to copy and publish content that is not covered by general use licenses. Publishers should be extremely careful to only use material that they can use without penalty. This would include material created by the publisher, their agents or for which they have clear usage rights. Pixabay fits the latter category: all Pixabay photographs are declared to be in the public domain by the photographers. This means that publishers can download the images and freely use them. Some caution must still be exercised, however.
When images are published with identifiable people or that have trademarks, a release must be obtained. For example, if a photograph contains a person who can be recognized, the publisher must have that person's permission. The same condition applies for trademarks such as an identifiable manufacturer's badge on a car. Pixabay does not store, nor require, releases for images on the site. Publishers should avoid using those images which have identifiable people or brand names, unless obscuring is used. Using image editing software, an image with a brand emblem, for example, could be altered to blur out recognizable items. This is quite an easy step and it protects the publisher.
Since Pixabay images are deemed public domain, they may be used for most any purpose. Unlike many other free to use images, public domain shots can be used on commercial sites. This would include use on revenue sharing sites or personal niche blogs. If required, such images can also be modified without penalty. Modification is not allowed with many digital images, even those purchased from stock libraries. This is not a concern with Pixabay files.
Pixabay is easy to use for publishers. There are over 50,000 images in the repository. Many of these are high quality photographs but graphic images and symbols can also be found. There is a search utility that allows publishers to find images by keyword tag. This facility works well but returns broad matches for some terms. For example, a search for the tag "office" returned photographs of office buildings, a stapler, some workers and a police vehicle. Analysis of the tags showed that the image included "officer" and so was counted as a match. Wildcard searching, ("office*"), is supported. Compound searching for related terms, ("office desk"), is supported but is positional only. Putting quotes around the tags will cause only those images with tags of "office" and "desk" located together to be shown. There does not seem to be a true compound tag facility built into the site. As such, searchers should expect to search on tags which pertain to the desired topic.
Pixabay is supported by user donations and some on screen advertising. The ads are not obtrusive. They display as additional images at the bottom of free image pages and invite the viewer to purchase similar digital files from a commercial source. Although the heading says that such images are available for $1 and up, the minimum listing price observed was $3 and ranged up to $20+. Contributing photographers appreciate links back to their profile and/or comments on their photos but neither action is required. A "wow" button is provided on the image detail page as well. This is akin to the "like" feature found on many web sites.
The site also includes a selection of photographs by camera type. This allows people interested in a certain equipment model to view images created by that model. There are about 38 pages of camera types listed so most people should be able to find a model that is relevant to them. This is a good way to evaluate how a certain camera might perform. Users should realize, however, that many of the photos are taken by dedicated photographers, many of whom are professionals. Your own ability to duplicate images with an identical camera may be difficult.
Images on Internet content are important. A serious publishers should be mindful of the legal ramifications involved with copying. They should use services such as Pixabay to ensure that their images are completely free for use on commercial sites. By virtue of the public domain usage right, the Pixabay images are safe for most uses. The site is gaining in popularity and has traffic of 1.5 million visitors per month. The site is quite young, 2 years as of December 12, 2012. Growth has necessitated server updates. Future growth is likely. Since the use of images with content is so important, and public domain images are best for many blogs, Pixabay is filling a need for many publishers. Try out the service yourself and start adding public domain images to your web sites.
While Pixabay is a good source for images, there are other free photo sites and those that involve low costs. As content publishers, make sure that you have the right to use your images for commercial use.