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How to Find and Use Royalty-Free Images - Made Easy

Updated on June 20, 2011
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Joanne Marcinek is a woman with a mission. Her passion is to help people get the relevant information they need on the Internet.

Most images in Google Image Search will contain this warning: Image may be subject to copyright.
Most images in Google Image Search will contain this warning: Image may be subject to copyright.

Copyright Laws and Images for Your Website

New website owners, bloggers, hub-writers, etc. may not know that finding an image using Google Images doesn't mean you can use it on your website, blog or hub.

There are some cases where excerpts of text or images can be used that fall under the guidelines of Fair Use. However, in most cases, and in any situation where the image is being used for Commercial purposes, the image is protected by Copyright laws and may not be used without the owners permission.

There is a new class of licensing available that has developed since the internet's inception called Creative Commons Licensing. This allows for different levels of licensing that can be set by the creator of the image.

This Hub is going to cover what are known as Royalty-Free images. It will discuss how to find them and how to legally use them.

How to Find Pictures for Your Website: Royalty-Free Images

When doing a search for Royalty-Free Images many different websites appear in the search results. Each site will have it's own guidelines for Download and Use of images.

There are different options for using photos from these sites:

  • Image can be downloaded for free, but when used MUST include an Attribution, that is the photographers name and/or a link to his/her webpage. Click here for an example of Attribution Requirements from
  • Image can be downloaded for a price (pricing is usually based on the size/quality of the image). No Attribution is required on a purchased photo.

Always check on the Rules for Use, Standard Restrictions, etc. before downloading an image to be sure you are in compliance with the rules. Penalties for Copyright infringement are steep.

From the US Copyright Office Website:
Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty for doing so?
Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights.


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    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 6 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you, exactly the info I was looking for. :)