Sometimes it is hard to do the right thing, but as disciples of Jesus, we must try.
As I’ve been working on getting lots of material ready for launching a new Effective Church Communications Membership that includes online Courses, Ebooks, Templates, and an Idea Bank of materials, some new guidelines have come to my attention about the “free images” on sites such as Canva, PicMonkey, and Snappa, where you can use the images they have, plus the free images sites themselves such as Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, and that many of us (me included) use to create social media and templates. What follows does not apply to sites in which you pay for a membership. But since many churches and organizations make use of free sites, it's important you understand the changing rules.
This has put a delay in releasing the ECC Membership of Courses, Ebooks, & Templates, and more importantly, what I learned has some significant applications for how you and your church can use images and I wanted to explain them to you.
The take-away conclusions from my research and limitations to the use of "free" images
I won’t bore you with listing the number of articles I’ve read recently, but following is the distilled research and application takeaways both for how it applies to you as a church and how you use things and for the Effective Church Communications ministry.
Overall, as a church creating communications that you freely give to church members and that are primarily shared within your church, you have much more latitude than I do in Effective Church Communications. Particularly with the new ECC Membership that has a monthly charge, what I create falls in to the “commercial” area and the usage guidelines for that are much more limiting than your non-commercial uses in the church.
I'll summarize my bottom-line recommendations shortly and then give you details from various sites.
However, and this is a big, However—if your church does something as seemingly innocent as selling a t-shirt for camp, or a cookbook as a fundraiser or selling anything else, you are now in the commercial category also. Sadly, there are some professional groups (Getty Images has a reputation in this area) that love to go after churches if they feel their image rights are violated. For these reasons, in addition to keeping you informed as to why I do what I do for you, you need to be as careful as possible in your communication creations and in the media you use for them. [Read more...]