You can use Zemanta and Picapp to find images that you’re allowed to blog. Otherwise, you have to get permission. Many people on photosharing sites like Flickr and Photobucket allow you to use their pictures; the copyright restrictions are usually displayed in the sidebar.
That said, the etiquette and the law differ significantly here. The law says you can’t use intellectual property like images without specific permission. The most widely accepted etiquette is that unless they have a request that you not use images, eg a displayed “All rights reserved” or even a line that says “Please do not reblog” then as long as you link back to the source, do NOT hotlink, and credit the source, then it’s okay.
In the case of professional artists and photographers, always always ask, since they make a living from their images.
There’s also legal protection for using a thumbnail-sized image of a copyrighted, larger image, but it’s dicey and who wants to end up in court?
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