Since the very beginning of writing and art, there has been a concern over the ownership, intellectual property rights and usage of work that has been put out there for public consumption. And since the digital age of the Internet, things have gotten much more complicated.
In college, I studied journalism and part of my schooling dealt with media law and ethics. Oddly enough, the answer to many of the questions and issues that we discussed was simply “it depends.”
So, just for kicks, here is my personal perspective on this matter.
If the content is from social media…
One of the primary purposes of social media is for the content to be shared. Whether is be on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest or something else, it seems to me that the content owner who posts his or her work is essentially granting permission for others to share it. If they do not want this to be the case, they can make adjustments to indicate that the content is private or not meant to be shared.
If the content is from a random blog, site or search…
I suppose the usage of these items does depend on many factors. I suggest you use you intuition.
If the content is specifically marked…
If the content states that it should not be reproduced or reposed, if a Youtube video is disabled from embedding or if right clicking on an image is disabled, clearly the post author does not want this to be spread around.
Best ways to go…
For photos or video:
Start out with your own images or videos, if you don’t have what is necessary, look into public domain, royalty free and stock content. The next best thing to do is seek out content that is clearly intended to be shared via social platforms.
Create your own or seek out people who will create content for you. Another option is to use content from article marketing sites like Ezine Articles.
When it comes to giving credit:
Crediting is often not necessary for public domain, royalty free or stock content. If it is a condition of usage, give proper credit. Same goes for stuff from article marketing sites. If it seems like sharing is acceptable, crediting the source in some way is always a good idea. While Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest pretty much automatically do this for you, not all platforms have such a feature. In that case, you can do something like tag the author or literally create a byline.