Image Searching in Safety

When a search engine enables users to search for images, and offers search parameters such as pixel size, aspect ratio, dominant colour and image content, they must know that many images are going to be used contrary to the laws of copyright. With the 'everything's free' ethos of web 2.0, such image use seems a victimless crime. Most users don't have the budget for expensive images from online image libraries. However, those who do suffer twinges can now choose from a new set of options relating to the kind of license attached to the image. Options range from "not filtered by license" through to "labelled for reuse (but not commercial use) to "labelled for commercial use with modification". Choosing the latter option dramatically reduces the number of hits for a given search, but at you are probably on the side of the angels (provided the web developer who set up the site in question is the legitimate owner of the image). As more people become aware of the range of image licensing options, hopefully more sites will be set up with this kind of image labelling, and the online image feast will get a little less risky.