What's the legal implication in using Google Images in flyer advertising?

Top voted answer
Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

I can only speak to copyright from the U.S. perspective. Using images directly from google in printed or digital marketing and/or advertising materials can put you in a sticky situation. The reason is you are using someone else's images without their consent. If they spot you using their images they can look into the matter in several ways.

  • They can see if you show up on a list of people that purchased the image(s). If you and/or your company are not on that this they can proceed (however, they may skip this step).
  • They can send a cease and desist letter either directly or from an attorney (this may mean you have to pull all the material from being sent out or seen).
  • They can sue for damages

Also, there are different licenses to consider when using images. Some are fine to use for personal use. Some you still have to pay to use in personal use. Many times for commercial use you must pay over and above what is charged for personal use because you are having more exposure based on someone else's work.

There are plenty of lower cost stock photography places, iStock photo, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Unsplash, etc. Ensure sure you purchase the proper size (resolution) for the type of medium the image will be presented in. Also make sure the license aligns to how you plan on using the image.

Lastly if you can. I would highly suggest either taking images yourself (if you have a semi-pro or professional level camera yourself). If you cannot shoot the images yourself you can always hire a freelance photographer to take the pictures you want and work out the copyright in the contract.

There are plenty of accessible ways to provide high quality photographs or graphics without outright stealing them from Google Images. Google Images is a great place to start for inspiration, but shouldn't be used for pulling images into commercial work. Remember just because the image is on Google doesn't mean it is the correct size, resolution or format for your needs. And using it could get you into more trouble than its worth.

Melanie Gray

Melanie Gray, Managing Owner at

Top 10% Insurance

You will need to find royalty free photos.

You can find some here https://pixabay.com/.

There are lots of other similar websites.

If you are wanting to create layered images, here is a really cool way to do it with powerpoint from Kits and Bits


If you are really serious about your advertising, you might want to have a photographer take pictures of what you are wanting (if it involves a real life picture)

Philip Brookes

Philip Brookes, Director at

Images found via a Google search or any other method are all subject to the same copyright laws. Some people will distribute their images with a Creative Commons license, of specific usage rights. If it's clear that their license terms permit you to use the image for the purpose you intend, then go ahead (you may need, for example, to include an acknowledgement of the source of the image). In some cases you may just need to email the owner and request permission. But commercial images need to be purchased - this involves finding how they're distributed and paying the required license fee. You'll find a lot of images on the web come from stock image libraries like Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, Getty Images, Dreamstime, etc... There are quite a few low cost options, so there's really no need to risk using someone's images without permission.

Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne, director at Stephen Roger Osborne

Top 10% Branding

Yes. The rule is: don't do it.

If you do not own the image, it is not yours to use.

See above answers for copyright-free alternatives.