The Lowdown on Using Images Online

What does Copyright mean?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property that applies to certain forms of creative work such as artwork, photography and in writing. The creator/author holds a set of rights to use or license the work. These rights usually include their work being protected from other people's reproduction, distribution, or modification of the work.

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is basically a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law. It permits the use of copyrighted material from the rights owners in certain circumstances such as the use in commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching library and archiving and scholarship.

What is Public Domain?

Public domain is basically when someone's intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited or are inapplicable. To know if you can use a public domain work, please check out the Wikipedia information on it as it does get a bit complicated. Click here to go to that page.

What does Royalty-Free mean?

So Royalty-free basically is media you can use without having to pay a royalty charge or license fee every time you use it; however, at times there can be a one-off payment to actually buy the image. Another important thing to consider with royalty-free images is that the owner (who may or may not be the actual creator) still retains the copyright.

What are Creative Commons images?

With Creative Commons images, this generally means that users can edit the work and use it commercially so long as attribution to the original work is followed. Again, this is not something we'll need to be concerned with with our project here, but knowledge is power, right? For a cool infographic on Creative Commons images, click here. To read a more detailed explanation of what Creative Commons means, check out Wikipedia, here.

What is considered personal and commercial use?

This is pretty obvious, right? Personal is something for your eyes only, like creating a vision board. Commercial use is something you plan to monetize on.

My rule when using images found on the Internet? Ask permission to use images in question and if you're really in doubt, don't use the image!

For a great resource that gives a more thorough explanation, I recommend checking this out: The Stinky Ink Shop’s Ultimate Guide to Using Images.


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