Market Trends

What is a Copyright Free Image License?

By EyeEm - 2 min read

It’s freedom.

Many creators like sharing their work to see it used elsewhere, and as a licensee, this gives you the opportunity to get quality images without having to pay royalties. The downside is that there aren’t a lot of copyright free images on the internet, and that finding really great ones can be difficult.

Let’s get a common misunderstanding out of the way first: Just because a photo you may see on the internet doesn’t have a copyright notice, that doesn’t mean a copyright doesn’t apply or that you can freely use it. Instead, the opposite is usually true. Keep in mind that publishers often misunderstand image licenses and wrongly credit creators. Whenever you use a photo, you need to verify yourself whether it comes with a license of whether it is a copyright free image. A copyright-free image is not to be confused with an image under a Creative Commons license either.

There are a number of platforms that have specialized in sharing copyright free images. Many of the participating artists share their work on these platforms in order to gain exposure and subsequently make money when clients contact them that like their style. One such platform is Unsplash, which describes its offering as “Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.”

Since copyright free images don’t carry any restrictions, you can freely use them for commercial and non-commercial purposes. You can also modify them, remix them, or even re-release those modifications under your own name. Nevertheless, it’s a nice gesture to credit the creator of the image to show your appreciation.

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Header image by Tara Gregg.