Images have become the ultimate part of our lives. Creating it for every posting, emailing, or uploading on some website is not a feasible option. We all know it. So, most people take help from online stock images. But, there is another hurdle you have to face to download a free images from the stock images website. Even if you spot the right image, you got to be sure you’ve learned the licensing and attribution, or you could be infringing copyright laws. Most of us who do not belong to the design industry are not aware of the copyright system.
Just remember the time you joined social media newly. To make a good impression, you must have downloaded great images, photos, videos, graphitizes, or similar content from Google.
That stuff was copyrighted.
We’re not here to scare you off but to make clear what these terminologies are. Let’s see them one by one:
Any individual who takes a photo or designs their original poster, and posts it on online platforms, has the right to be recognized as the inventor/creator of that picture. They naturally own the copyright for that graphic. It implies that legally, they have the liberty to decide how and on which platform that image is to be used.
Hence, when you use an image that is copyrighted, you’re using something without permission that doesn’t belong to you. You need to get the author’s permission first.
In this case, the copyright holder can decide to make their work open to using a variety of Creative Commons licenses (cc licenses).
One image can become a member of the ‘public domain’ when the rightful owner dies. And it can belong to the creator till 70 years after their death. So, in other words, copyright can have an expiry date. These images become completely free to use by any user.
Giving Credit / Attribution
Attributing to an image means you have to credit the curated. You need to get permission from them if you need to use that author’s image unless published under a (CC0 license) Creative Commons Zero. What CC indicates is TASL, a manageable and straightforward system that accounts for the requirements of the different CC licenses.
How to do it?
- The title of the image.
- The name of the author.
- The URL where the image is hosted(image source)
- If possible, give a link to the author’s profile
Royalty-free does not mean the free stock photo will necessarily be free. They can have some restrictions on free use. You might be entitled to use that stock image unlimited times without having to repay.
Carelessly using someone else’s work could get you into hot water, both legally and ethically. When using stock images, it is best to learn the ins and out of copyright law. The Fair Use doctrine is somewhat ambiguous, so it’s essential to be cautious. Read the rules and regulations carefully. The free stock image websites can differ their policies accordingly.