Google's recently launched tool on its image search that identifies images and can be re-used for free under the Creative Commons (and similar) licence appears to be grossly inaccurate.

The search engine is currently returning image results of many obviously copyrighted images as free to copy, due to how the amateur uploader of the image, on sites like Flickr, has labelled them.

As one example, PDNPulse points out that currently Google is returning Steve McCurry’s "Afghan girl" photo via Flickr as free to copy with no copyright restrictions, something that McCurry would - rightly - likely be rather unhappy with.

Google does offer the following disclaimer on a help page, but by presenting such search results clearly "labeled for resuse", it surely won't be until someone is tripped up by the faulty system, which could be an expensive mistake.

“Before reusing content that you've found, you should verify that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse stated in the license. For example, most licenses require that you give credit to the image creator when reusing an image. Google has no way of knowing whether the license is legitimate, so we aren't making any representation that the content is actually or lawfully licensed".