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06May,2019By Angie Neal

What You Need To Know About Free Images and how to use them?

You know, you just can’t grab any image from the web because it’s highly copyrighted. But the web is for everyone, right? And you can use all the free images there. Wrong. The web is full of images in support of the content the user shares. And most of them are copyrighted by the people behind those images.

Let me guess. You’re a business owner or blogger who wants supporting images for your website, right? We understand the plight of many individuals seeking graphics resources because they themselves have difficulty in producing one. It could be due to:

a. Lack of money and resources

b. Short time to prepare graphics and images themselves

c. Little knowledge on how to make one

There are plenty of images on the web you can use for free and for commercial purposes. Sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, or Freepik are among the many.

But are free graphics truly free for use and to what extent? Some images on the web might require users to add photo credits or use the image provided there will be no modification. Honestly, there are rules when using free photos.

We will be discussing royalty-free images, copyright-free images, and those for public perusal.


Metal rust and grunge style of copyright logo

Royalty-free and Copyright-free are not the same

Graphics and images are often protected by copyright. However, there are cases when you must obtain permission before using the images for your benefit.

Many people often confuse royalty-free with copyright-free. In order to understand the two, here’s what we can help define.

Royalty-free images. A royalty-free is where a user pays a one-time fee for the image license without minding the royalties in the future. The person can use the image as many times afterward. When you say royalty-free, it does not mean “free” per se. There’s a cost in using the image, just without additional royalties.

**Royalty. Royalty is a fee paid for each use of an item or artwork. For example, a photographer is paid every time his images are published or reproduced.

Copyright-Free images. Copyright-free images are under the public domain. These images can be used freely used by anyone for any purpose, whether that would be for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

**Copyright. Copyright is a protection provided by the law to creators who have original works of authorship.

Rights-managed images or license imaging. With rights-managed licensing, your usage of the image is restricted on certain factors such as duration of use, number publishing or printing, viewership, and more, as established by a license agreement.


A person looking at a photo on paper and on web

FAQs about using images for the web

As business owners, the first graphics you’ll be incorporating on your website are stock footages. But are these stock images royalty-free or under public domain usage?

Are all images copyrighted?

Yes, at the time of its creation, images are copyrighted, unless the owner decides to deliberately give it to public domain usage.

What do you mean by copyright infringement?

An infringement of copyright is a violation of the rights of the creator or rights holder. It can be any of the following:

a. Using an image without permission of the owner

b. Using an image the license agreement

c. Modification of an image without the consent of the owner

Should I worry about copyright infringement?

A copyright infringement case may result in lawsuits, criminal charges, and monetary damages. Legal fees will also transpire accordingly.

If an image is on the internet, doesn’t that mean it’s for free of use?

No. Just because an image is on the internet, it doesn’t mean the image is free to use. There are still copyright and royalty claims over an image.

My website will be built by another party, who’s responsible for any copyright infringement?

More often, the end client (you) is responsible for the infringement. You take the blame when the copyright owners found their works on your site. That’s why you need to talk with the company you’re doing transactions with to ensure the legality of the job done.

 Can I still be sued even though I’ve paid for the images?

It depends. If you use the image beyond your stipulated agreement, it can still serve as grounds for copyright infringement.

Is it okay to use a photo with someone else’s face on it?

A dispute can arise from models or individuals in the image. Since they have rights to privacy, they can claim and protect themselves from commercial use of their face, voice, or name without their permission.

Are there any FREE images on the web for usage?

Yes. There are free stock images to use without the need for payment or attribution. These photos are under public domain. However, some freelance photographers are also offering free images for donations only.

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