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What pictures on the internet can I freely copy and use?

Updated on February 4, 2008
 

My favorite place to find free pictures is from Wikipedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/ Find the picture or media you want, and read the "permissions".

Also do a search on "CopyLeft", which is a play on the word "copyright".(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft),

"Flickr" is a site where people can upload their own photos. They have an option to flag them as "copyleft".

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/copyleft/

So in photos there, that are flagged with "CopyLeft", are available for you. I have included a picture of the CopyLeft symbol below. It's basically a the letter "C" backwards, drawn in a circle.

I use these types of free pictures in the tutorials that I created. I would suggest staying away from all our pictures, unless you are willing to pay a small fee for a "royalty free" or "stock photo". Any picture on a "normal" website, cannot be used without that website's permission (unless they have expressly granted permission). Although it maybe unlikely that you would be sued, the fines and penalties for using a picture without permission could potentially be very steep.

Also - don't get mixed up between "CopyRight" and "CopyWrite". Copywriting is the process of writing good text, typically for a sales letter or advertising. Copyright is the process of legally protecting any work you have written.

I took a copyright class in law school back in the 1980s, but things have changed a lot since then. I have yet to study in much detail the new Digital "Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)", passed by congress in 1996. See this Wikopedia article for more details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMCA

 

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    • C-Lee profile image

      C-Lee 9 years ago

      Thanks, this is helpful!

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

      Thank You very useful information

      Hope to read more from you

    • profile image

      alex 8 years ago

      Thanks a lot this helps me very much for my site

    • Ida-May profile image

      Ida-May 8 years ago from Yorkshire

      Thanks I'm new here and was trying to figure out where I'd get the photos I'm going to need for my hubs

    • profile image

      S. Harris 8 years ago

      That was helpful but what about the use of clipart? I often find images that I can use with just a few "tweeks" in Photoshop. Is this a free option or are there copyright laws attached to them as well?

    • profile image

      naveen 6 years ago

      thanks,this is informational

    • profile image

      vijay 6 years ago

      thanks i like this article,very informative

    • profile image

      Richard 6 years ago

      Flickr also has a ton of creative commons stuff (over 150 million photos). Learn about the various types of CC licenses before using it, but for the most part it can all be used.

      Most of it cannot be used for commercial purposes (non-commercial, though over 50 million allow commercial use), require attribution (mentioning who took the photo), and share alike (that derivative works cannot have other licenses).

      http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

    • profile image

      Mayuri Goodhand 6 years ago

      Thanks, that's hugely useful.

    • profile image

      Donovan 6 years ago

      Hi Neal, I'm making a site for myself, and it has a page ust for photo's. I'd like to ask you if through the site you gave on commons.wikipedia, Is it free for use on my site? or i may be in deep shit if i posted it there. I planned to place google adsense also, to keep my site running. Your advice would be appreciated. thanks

    • profile image

      kapoor.arati@gmail.com  6 years ago

      Pls tell me can we use the photos from wikipedia in any of our magazine in india or not ????

    • thefinalword profile image

      thefinalword 6 years ago

      thank you so much for this article. You saved my life

    • profile image

      Old horse pics 5 years ago

      I was really upset to find my images, from a family collection of old photos, had been lifted from Flickr and used in a glossy magazine. I bought a mag, opened it up, to find my own photos staring back at me!

      The ''author'' had basically stolen them from Flickr, despite my settings set to ''Copyright'' and ''not for copying in any way''...such theft of special images [special to me, and my family] is not on, so well done for trying to clarify what can and cannot be used.

    • profile image

      alan 5 years ago

      its good to see an article that rellyuhelps us thank you

    • profile image

      TG 5 years ago

      I want to know if I could copy picture "Western Blue Bird" with rainbow for my Facebook cover and Facebook profile picture?

    • profile image

      Futamarka 4 years ago

      Рейтинг обновляется автоматически, раз в сутки. Обычно это происходит утром, в 6-8 часов утра. Возможно задержки из-за системы SAPE - об этом обычно сообщается в объявлениях биржы. В любом случае рано или поздно данные обновляются.

    • profile image

      Roy 2 years ago

      I am a hobby photographer and all my photos are in highest resolution for download from my website. They can be used free of cost for both personal and commercial use. If you are after copyright photos then please check out

      www.perfectexposure.org

      Your support will keep me going and help me keep them available for free.

    • profile image

      Roy 2 years ago

      I am a hobby photographer and all my photos are in highest resolution for download from my website. They can be used free of cost for both personal and commercial use. If you are after royalty free and free to download photos then please check out

      www.perfectexposure.org

      Your support will keep me going and help me keep them available for free.

    • profile image

      Johne699 2 years ago

      Wonderful site. Plenty of useful info here. I'm sending it to a few pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you to your sweat! gggfdcaagdaf

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