Whether for personal use or to illustrate remarks, it is advisable to use copyright-free images and photographs in order to avoid prosecution by one of the authors or his representative.
There are also a good number of photo banks on the Internet specializing in this type of content.
It’s pretty hard to navigate all the legal mumbo jumbo about the use of copyrighted photos and images. The conditions of use are sometimes also complicated.
However, there are sites specializing in the grouping of free and royalty-free photos and images. They are still subject to copyright, but they are available to anyone and can be used without asking permission. The indication of the author is preferable, but not obligatory.
Google Image, the essential
What would Internet research be without a little detour to Google? The essential search engine also offers an image bank of all kinds. Please note that most are subject to copyright. It will be necessary to go through a tool to sort through the vastness of clichés contained in Google Image.
To do this, you must go to “Tools”, below the search bar, “Right of use” and select “Reuse authorized”.
Be careful though that Google differentiates between images that allow or not use for commercial purposes, as well as images that may undergo modifications.
Depending on what the user wants to do with the work, it will be necessary to modify the parameters and filters.
Unsplash, total freedom
This website operates on a collaborative principle. Amateurs and more professional photographers make their creations available to everyone for free. This is truly the site for anyone who doesn’t want to worry about possible copyright concerns and other complicated procedures. Here, the photos are free. We do what we want. Be careful not to appropriate the work of another.
Just because it’s free doesn’t mean the content is of poor quality. Indeed, Unsplash imposes a minimum quality and resolution in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.
In addition, the site makes it a point of honor to check other image parameters such as photo grain, brightness, and others, in order to offer quality content to its visitors.
To make the most of it, the site has a search bar that makes it easier to find the pictures that interest us. We can then dispose of images and photos as we see fit, commercial purpose or not, modification or not.
Pixabay and the Creation Common
It’s more than a million photos, videos, and illustrations that Pixabay offers free. Just do your research from the engine and get what you want, whether for private or commercial use. It is even possible to modify the works.
Although made available to everyone, the creations on the site are still governed by a specific right.
Indeed, the authors are protected by the Creative Commons (CC), an alternative much less restrictive than the copyright and which allows wider use of the objects. This right is actually the responsibility of a non-profit association that offers a legal alternative to intellectual property rights that is much less restrictive in terms of the use of works.
The illustrations can therefore be used without asking the permission of the author and without charge. But there are conditions all the same; in particular, the prohibition to repost images from Pixabay on another competing site or to use the works of the site for an immoral purpose.
Little more, the site is partially in French and is very pleasant to use.
Flickr, a community of photographers
Flickr remains a very special case. Yahoo’s photography platform is both an image bank and online storage for budding photographers. With over 1.3 billion images Flickr is one of the best-known image sites. Photos may be made available to the public through the Creative Commons license and it is the author who chooses what use can be made of their creations.
Indeed, the author can choose to prohibit his works from being used for commercial purposes or modified. The conditions of use are numerous and can meet the expectations of the authors while allowing the public to enjoy the pictures.
Rather closer to a social network, Flickr offers its users the possibility of registering and subscribing to artist feeds that interest them, as well as joining communities or groups around the same theme. All in French.
Negative Space, top filtering
Always in the same genre – there are hundreds of different sites -: Negative Space. Rather modest royalty-free image bank, but the richness of which is found in its search filters. Indeed, it is possible to add several criteria of what you want to appear in the images, as well as to choose the location of the subjects in the photo frame.
And, as for the previous ones, this site also offers images that have fallen into the public domain. This means that their author died at least 70 years ago, the period during which works are still subject to copyright.
Stockvault, free but profitable
Small UFO in the assembly, Stockvault looks like all the other banks of illustrations in terms of free access and rights of use, in particular with the Creative Common. Its particularity lies in the fact that the authors can remunerate when visitors come to their page.
A rather strange concept, but which seems to be a hit. The site thus ensures a loyal and growing community. Unfortunately, the idea also attracts a lot of scammers who take over the work of others.
Negative point: the site is in English, so you will have to do your research using English terms.
Request permission from the author
Beyond the royalty-free images, it is possible to enjoy an image subject to copyright simply by asking permission to use it. It will still be necessary to quote his name in the credits of the work. Be careful though that it is better to have a written record of this authorization so as not to have any problems later.
Exceptions to the rule
However, there are exceptions that do not require the author’s permission. Particularly within the framework of scientific research, as well as in an educational framework. Teachers and scientists are not subject to the obligation to request authorization from the author, nor to pay him a sum of use, it will only be necessary to return to Caesar what belongs to him, namely to give the sources Artwork. There is also an exception in the context of libraries, museums and archives.
Private use also benefits from an exception. But in this case, it is rather the impossibility for the author or the competent authorities to determine what an individual does with the work. It should also be noted that the private copying or the distribution of works are authorized within the limits of the family framework if, and only if, they were first acquired legally.
To illustrate this article, no request was made to the authors of either illustration for the simple fact that the press, and more particularly the information framework, enjoys freedom at this level. Be careful though that newspapers remain subject to the obligation to name the authors.
Finally, in the context of hospitals, prisons or youth aid and other more complex cases, copies of works or their distribution are authorized without the obligation to obtain the authorization of its author and without have to pay him a sum for the use of his work.