Having just posted this answer, now that I look at it more words are still unnecessary (succinct, and not my usual kind of answer where there's plenty of text to cite and I also didn't want to make an 'ad'), however the pictures have no attribution.

Is it OK to 'steal' pics from the internet?

I am under the assumption that this site is not-for-profit as well as educational and therefore this falls under fair use.


2 Answers 2


If you took the time to set up and take a picture that clearly illustrated some concept - perhaps crawling around among rafters, inadvertently jabbing your scalp with roofing nails in the process - wouldn't you appreciate it if folks who used your pictures in the future took a minute to give you credit?

Forget fair use. Forget what you "must" do. What's the right thing to do?

If you have the information and can provide it, do so - it's just good manners.


Even StackExchange mentions in the footer:

[...] user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required

In that regard, you should at least provide the Internet the courtesy of attributing the original source.

  • 1
    These rules seam to apply to content in SE, not random internet pics. I gain from those links and your answer that this is expected of a good SEer anyway, yet no rule is being broken here, site-wise or legally?
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 3:06
  • 1
    @Mazura: Then do "the right" thing, as suggested by Shog9...
    – Werner
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 3:20
  • @Mazura: If you're posting the link at SE, it's content that is "in SE", and quibbling over whether it's breaking a rule or not is simply nonsense (and the question of "legally" depends on your jurisdiction, and like all other legal questions should be referred to an attorney). If you have the attribution, why would you be so lazy and rude not to provide it? How much effort does it take to copy and paste a link and format it? If it's not worth that much effort, don't use the image or answer the question. "Must we?" - maybe not. "Should we?" If you have ethics or common courtesy, absolutely.
    – Ken White
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 4:01
  • 1
    -1: “Attribution required” is a stipulation of the CC-BY-SA license that's used for all user contributions on SE. It is here mentioned explicitly because the link leads to an SE blog post that lays out how this attribution must be performed. As any user contributions use the CC-BY-SA license, this also requires the contributing user to actually have the necessary rights to the posted content, which is not generally the case for 3rd-party images. Whether you have to attribute external images depends on the license of those images, not on the license of SE user contributions.
    – amon
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 9:49
  • @amon: Woah, that's trying to read far too much in my reference. Both answers merely identify that some common sense should be used when posting content.
    – Werner
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 15:57
  • Thanks for the links and leading me to the 'correct' decision.
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 17:39

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