When it comes to creating videos for your YouTube channel, the thumbnail is one of the most critical elements. This is the image that will be displayed when people are browsing through different videos, so you want to make sure it looks good and catches their attention. In some cases, you may want to use a copyrighted image in your thumbnail. But can you do that?
Using copyrighted images in your thumbnails is not allowed by YouTube unless you have permission from the copyright holder. Copyrighted images can be removed from your video, and you could face penalties for using them. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using copyrighted images in your thumbnails.
In this blog post, we will discuss the legality of using copyrighted images in YouTube thumbnails and provide some tips on finding free-to-use photos that you can use instead! So, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?
Can I Use Copyrighted Images in YouTube Thumbnails?
Finding stunning images that effortlessly capture your audience’s attention is one of the main goals of any thumbnail. And the best part is that it’s not hard to find these images. A quick search on Google Images alone will give you access to millions of images. From here, all you have to do is right-click and download the image.
But that simple move could get you into trouble. If you don’t have permission to use the image, you could be infringing on someone’s copyright. This is because the person who owns the copyright has exclusive rights to using that image, which means you can’t use it without their permission.
If you do, they can sue you and charge you with a copyright violation, which could result in hefty fines.
Source: All Free Mockups
How to Safely Use Thumbnail Images
Using copyrighted images in your thumbnails can result in penalties from YouTube and even getting your video taken down. After spending all that time and effort on a great video, this is the last thing you need.
So how can you safely use thumbnail images without infringing on someone’s copyright? There are a few things you can do:
Always Conduct a Copyright Analysis
Even when you’re in a hurry to get your video up, resist the urge to use any image you find on the internet. Always conduct a copyright analysis to determine whether an image is copyrighted and, if it is, get permission from the copyright holder before using it in your thumbnail.
This may take longer than just finding and using an image, but it’s worth the time and effort to avoid potential legal trouble.
Use Royalty-Free Images
The most practical way to create YouTube thumbnails without running into issues with copyright, is by using copyright and royalty-free images.
It can be hard to find images that are truly royalty-free because the big websites that claim to offer royalty-free images typically have protected images mixed in on accident.
To avoid any potential copyright issues with your thumbnails, most YouTubers use YouTube Thumbnail Makers. These tools have templates that you can customize, and most importantly, all royalty-free images. By using these thumbnail makers, your thumbnail will be 100% commercially usable, and copyright free!
Take Your Own Pictures
The best way to ensure you’re using an image you have the right to is to take it yourself. This can be as simple as taking a picture of your product or shooting a video with your phone. Just make sure you have the rights to use any images or videos you create yourself because it’s not always clear who owns the copyright, especially in employment settings.
Use Creative Commons Images
If you don’t want to take your own pictures or pay for stock images, several websites offer free, Creative Commons-licensed images. This means that the creator has given permission for others to use their image as long as they give credit.
However, you need to read the terms and conditions very carefully to make sure you’re allowed to use the photo in a commercial context. Many licensees allow non-commercial use only, while others require you to share your own work under the same terms if it includes an image licensed under Creative Commons.
Source: Copyright Laws
It may not seem like a big deal to copy an image and include it in your YouTube thumbnail, but the penalties for doing so are severe.
If you’re caught using copyrighted images without permission, you could be subject to legal action from the copyright holder or their representatives. This can result in hefty fines per violation, and demonetized YouTube videos.
So, don’t take the risk. Instead, use the tips in this post to identify safe images to use in your YouTube thumbnails.