I think I have a secret wish to work at Google someday.

How honestly did we survive before it came along? Only very few times have I been unable to find the information I require from Google. So it made perfect sense that once I started blogging, I’ll head directly to Google to get the images that supported my blog post.

Can I Use Google images

Bloggers are not the only ones guilty of this. Professionals and business people often use Google images (and other people’s works and/or creations available on the internet) in their materials, presentations, slides and even on their Instagram page. And no, merely stating or linking the source of the picture doesn’t automatically grant you permission or any form of protection. In the same vein, putting out a disclaimer that says ‘All the images on this blog are from Google and do not belong to me’ is pretty useless as well.

A lot of you know this. But you know, we often just shrug our shoulders and think ‘Who’s going to sue me?’.

Artists, photographers and creatives take their work seriously and are often willing to take legal action.  More so, in this digital age (and if we want our blogs and websites to be truly international) we need to do this properly. Needless to say, I’ve gone back to my old posts, and I’m ripping off those images which I don’t have the permission for.

This is just a quick FYI post, so you don’t say your Lawyer friend did not warn you.

Here’s what you should know.


Copyright protects creative works – books, films, music, artistic works etc. Such ideas must have been expressed, so, unfortunately, copyright does not protect your idea while it’s still in your brain. So if I had an idea to create a painting of Olumo Rock*, and told all my blog readers that I had such idea but never actually painted it, and one of my readers goes ahead to create such painting, obviously, I have no copyright in that material.  Such work also has to be an original piece of work.

Copyright also arises automatically in many jurisdictions. So once I’ve expressed my idea, I automatically have a copyright on it. Another key thing about copyright is that the right to the work often lasts for the entire life of the author plus 70 years. Only after this period are you then allowed to use it without permission.

Who owns the copyright? – Usually the author of the creation. However, if the work is created in the course of employment, the copyright is usually owned by the employer. So if your job involves creating masterpieces, you may want to check your employment contract to confirm who owns the copyright.


Remember my blog post on the movie Joy and her Mop?  She had to register a patent for this new kind of mop she had created. Patents protect novel inventions and unlike copyright which arises automatically, these have to be registered in the relevant jurisdictions.

Patents must entail an inventive step (i.e something not quite obvious to everyone else). The idea is often to promote such useful inventions, while at the same time allowing the inventor to commercially exploit his invention. For this reason,  a patent lasts only 20 years, during which time only the inventor is allowed to use the invention. After this period, such knowledge becomes public information which anyone can access and use.


We all know trademarks. These basically distinguish goods or services of one company or business from that of another. They can include letters, numerals, words and slogans, designs (graphics), the shape of goods/packaging, colours, sounds, etc.  Producing a knock-off Chanel handbag breaches trademark. In the movie Coming to America, the fast-food restaurant McDowells was infringing the trademark of McDonald’s – the two golden arches.

So that’s all  – my social responsibility for the month of March is done. In February, I talked about the dismaying state of  Africa’s power situation. There’s some pretty useful info on there and you can check it out here.

And on these posts – can we strike a deal?  I write; you share? That way someone somewhere learns something new thanks to you!  If it’s easier, you can follow me on Twitter @Kacheetee, and re-tweet.

What intellectual property rights are you most guilty of infringing? It’s best to stop now and let’s all strive to do the right thing.

Have a wonderful month of April.


Kachee… Xx

*Olumo Rock is a major tourist attraction in Abeokuta, Nigeria, used as a fortress during wars in the 19th century.  I can’t believe this is Tee’s hometown and I’ve never been to the rock. May plan a trip later this year. Is anyone interested?


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  1. Paula Olaitan Benedict

    March 31, 2016 at 13:28

    I’m sooo interested in the rock visit when you are ready… hopefully will be there with Tee’s gift to me when I come around in June… smiles

    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      April 1, 2016 at 17:32

      Hahahaha. We will plan it don’t worry.

  2. Ife Ugbebor

    March 31, 2016 at 15:02

    Awesome post Kachee, a very beneficial social deed indeed 🙂

    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      April 1, 2016 at 17:32

      Blaise! Thank you for stopping by. I really appreciate!!

  3. Adekemi Edema

    April 7, 2016 at 13:53

    You should repost this on April 26 and tag WIPO and the likes. That’s World IP Day.

    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      April 7, 2016 at 14:08

      Thanks Adekemi! That sounds like a good idea. I def will…

  4. Amakamedia

    April 12, 2016 at 23:14

    Lovely info.I hardly ever use images from Google. I use my very own pictures and watermark them. (I am my own model *winks*)Thanks for sharing.

    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      April 15, 2016 at 14:50

      You actually take all your own pictures, I noticed! That’s super cool babe. And the editing and graphics. I need to learn.


    April 15, 2016 at 08:08

    Olumo rock isn’t all that but you should still go see……pretty scared of heights so I was really scared at the last point that involved crawling up and you see some people there just hopping like monkeys on the rocks….sighDoes this mean that even while carrying out research which may get published and you use a picture from google but cite a reference, you can still get sued?

    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      April 15, 2016 at 14:50

      There’s lots to see, but I def intend to see Olumo Rock. Well, strictly speaking you can still get sued. But the chances may be slim except you use it for commercial purposes or it goes viral on the internet, or somehow gets to the attention of the creator in other ways.

  6. Arrey Echi

    July 14, 2016 at 14:33

    When I started blogging, I was told pictures on public domain on google can be used by anyone. However, in trying to learn more about blogging, I stumbled upon a post which spoke about these issues you raised. And as someone who is in IP, I understand the importance of TM and stuff. From that day, I have tried hard to take my own pictures or write my own quotes even if they are not as awesome as those on google. Makes me sleep in peace. money no de for pay lawyer. In those rare moments I can’t find a suitable picture and use google, I always make sure to cite my source. Not very much help there but atleast better than claiming someone’s own work as yours.Good job lawyer. Thanks for the legal tips. 🙂

    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      August 3, 2016 at 19:39

      Thank you Arrey!! Money no dey for Lawyer oh. The risk of a suit might be really low, but if it can be avoided, all the better!

  7. Zinny

    August 3, 2016 at 19:09

    Hi Kachee, you are right. There are websites that provide free pictures and it’s authorized by the artist/ photographer. That way, the artist can promote his/ her work and get people to buy some. I try to take pictures but I can be so lazy but I should take more photos. Luckily, I have a personal photographer (I like to say) haha!!www.zinnyfactor.com

    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      August 3, 2016 at 19:40

      Yeah, there are loads of websites for free photos. Sometimes, understandably they don’t align with what you wish to convey… but oh well, we make do!

    • RuthsTravel:Because I Believe

      January 3, 2017 at 22:31

      I agree with you! I imagine how cool it is to have a personal photographer 😄becauseibelieveblog.com

  8. Abisola

    March 9, 2017 at 19:48

    For a very brief moment, I wondered why you said you had not visited Olumo rock. I remember your post where you and your husband when you visited. Then I saw this post was written a year ago. Lol. The points are forever valid though and good to keep in mind especially as a blogger.

  9. Ash Neverson

    July 19, 2017 at 03:41

    OH my, I have been using google images for a long while, and after sometime I discovered Pixabay, where it’s free photos, am I still “copyright infringing”Thank you so much for this! I better learn to take my pictures!Ash // http://www.theashtreejournal.com