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Where to Find Copyright Free Images
Not only do images make websites, eBooks, or articles look better, they're also beneficial from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) standpoint. Image captions can be a great way to sneak in some keywords (be careful to avoid spamming). Images also get picked up by search engines and you may get traffic through Google Images.
Finding images can be a bit of a challenge. Images legally belong to their creators. You will violate copyright laws if you randomly pull images off the web. If you have Google Adsense ads on your website or blog, they are considered to be commercial. If you plan to sell an eBook that is also a commercial use. Many images available on the web either can't legally be used or they can't be used for commercial purposes. The following is a list of some ways to find images for legal use.
What is Public Domain?
Public domain images no longer have any copyright or legal restrictions, so they can be used freely for any purpose, including commercial. Images are either in the public domain because their copyright has expired or because the creator chose to give up their intellectual property rights to the image.
Take Your Own Pictures
This is one option many people don't consider. I regularly take pictures that I think might be useful at some point. If you write on a limited number of topics you will have a good idea of what images may be useful to you.
Open Clip Art Library
The Open Clip Art Library openclipart.org is a great source for quality public domain clip art and vector graphics. The website says that all clip art can be used in any project for free. But it also says:
"Unless noted, content on this site is waived of all copyright."
So, you should double check and make sure the image can be used.
Wikimedia Commons has permission information for each image. It will tell you if images are in the public domain and why.
Pixabay.com has user submitted public domain images. The website already has over 20,000 images and clipart. Most of the images are high quality. This is a great starting point for eBook authors and article writers. According to the website:
"You can freely use any image from this website in digital and printed format for personal and commercial use without attribution to the original author."
Flickr is a photo sharing community that is "home to over five billion of the world’s photos." The nice thing about Flickr is the advanced search feature. You can limit your search to only images that can be used for commercial purposes. A lot of images on Flickr come with restrictions. You may have to credit your source to use them.
Free Digital Photos
Free Digital Photos has a large number of high quality images. You will have to give credit to use these pictures. You will see Attribution Required next to each picture. You should use both the credit and a url to the picture.
Wpclipart.com has both images and clipart. All are in the public domain.
"WPClipart is an ever-growing collection of artwork for schoolkids and others that is free of copyright concerns as well as safe from inappropriate images. Use in school research and reports is my main focus when creating, or finding and editing -- but there are photos and clips here that work great for commercial uses, book illustrations, office presentations, and some just for fun."
Public Domain Pictures
Public Domain Pictures is a good source of both free and paid images. When you do a search the public domain images come up on top. Before downloading you can check the licensing information that comes with each picture to ensure that the image is public domain.
Most images taken by public employees are in the public domain. There are some restrictions however when an image has a picture of a person who is not a public figure. Some options are NASA, the CIA Factbook, the Library of Congress, the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior. You have to be cautious with these websites. Photos taken by public employees are usually public domain. However, that does not mean that all images used on government websites are public domain. They may be stock photos purchased for use on the website.