How to Find Out If an Image is Copyrighted

How do you know if you can use an image from google

Whether you’re a blogger, content creator or online marketer, getting the right image to match your message is important. But using an image that is copyrighted can be a big risk and could land you in some serious trouble.

Google closely monitors images for unauthorized use and will blacklist them when it finds them. Its rules also ensure that images are relevant to the page and meet quality standards.


If you’ve ever found a great photo that you want to use in your social media posts, marketing materials or your website, chances are that you’ve landed on Google Images. However, many people don’t know how to find out if an image is copyrighted, and that can have serious legal and financial repercussions.

Under modern copyright law, a creative work has copyright protection the moment it’s fixed in a tangible medium. This is a critical distinction because it means that even if you doodle an illustration on a cocktail napkin, or paint a painting on a canvas, the work would still be protected under copyright law.

Fortunately, most of the images you’ll find on Google are protected by copyright. Whether you’re looking for royalty-free photos or stock pictures, a quick search on Google will give you a good idea of if an image is copyrighted or not.

In order to determine an image’s copyright, you’ll need to know its original source and the terms involved with using it. This can be done through a reverse image search or simply by searching the picture’s URL and pasting it onto Google’s search engine to see where it’s stored on the internet.

Another way to check an image’s copyright is by using the Advanced Image Search facility on Google. It’s not the default, so you’ll need to go to Settings and select “Advanced settings.” Then, under Usage Rights, you’ll have a range of options that will allow you to search only for licensed images.

The most common type of license is called a “Creative Commons” license, which gives users the right to use an image for any purpose as long as they attribute it and follow certain rules. These rules may include editing the image, making it available in a different format or attribution of some kind.

These licenses come in several forms, but the most common ones are CC BY (creative commons by), CC BY-ND (creative commons by-nc) and CC0 (freedom to use, share and adapt). You can also find public domain and expired/free images that have been deemed as copyrighted by the copyright holder and are therefore not subject to any restrictions or licensing requirements.

Creative Commons

Image searches on Google are one of the most common ways that students find images to use in their work. Often though, these images are subject to restrictive copyright terms that prohibit many uses.

Creative Commons was developed as an alternative to restrictive copyright and allows creators and artists to license their works for distribution and further use. It also allows for attribution of images to their original author and provides creators with tools for managing their own rights.

A number of sites offer free files and media under a Creative Commons license that permit the creation of derivative works and allow for the sharing and use of those materials. Some of these sites make it easy to search and download files or media under the license, others require a login/signup to access materials that have been made available under Creative Commons.

Generally, image databases that feature CC licenses will have a clear description of the license type and associated usage rights displayed on their page. Some even provide a handy filter by usage rights option to help you limit your search results to only those images with the proper licenses.

However, it is still essential that you verify the license of any images that you are considering using to avoid breaching the rights of the original creator and infringing their privacy. This can be done by using a ‘usage rights’ filter in your search tools and then clicking through to the image host to confirm the license details.

The best place to start is the Creative Commons website, which lists all CC licensed work and lets you search by license type or limit your results to only those with certain usage rights. Alternatively, you can use the filters provided in the image search on Google (see below) to only show content that has been tagged with a Creative Commons license.

There are seven different Creative Commons license types, each of which can be used for a wide range of purposes. Some are more permissive than others, so you will need to read the license terms carefully and be sure that you are following them.


If you are searching for images to use on your blog, website or in your social media content, you need to be aware of the license attached to the image. This is important because if you use the wrong type of license for an image, you could be breaking copyright law.

Google has been working with the imaging licensing industry to create a new Licensable badge feature that will help you to find images you can legally use on the web. This new feature will show you a small notification that says “Licensable” over a thumbnail image in search results if the publisher or creator has provided licensing information for the photo, such as Creative Commons or commercial rights.

The close-up view for a badged photo will also provide credit/copyright/creator info and a link to the image license details, if available. You can also use Google’s search filter to select only licensed photos.

In the past, many people used search engines such as Google Images to find images that they wanted to use. Sadly, this was often done without regard to licensing restrictions.

To make it easier for users to find licensable photos, Google introduced a Licensable badge feature in 2020. This badge indicates that the image is available for use if it has licensing information and a link to where you can purchase it.

As a result, the majority of image downloaders now use this method rather than downloading images and then trying to get the licensing details manually. It’s crucial to make it as easy and painless as possible for your potential customers to buy your images.

This is where SmartFrame can help. Our thumbnails are fully compatible with Google’s Licensable badge and automatically include the required licensing information when uploading a picture from your server to your site.

This will help your clients to use the image you have uploaded to their site, while also protecting your business from legal risks. However, be careful not to rely on this feature too much or you may find yourself in trouble for using an image illegally.

Usage Rights

If you’re looking to use an image from Google, it is vital to know the usage rights of that image before using it. This will ensure that you do not infringe the copyright of the original owner.

Despite the fact that it is often difficult to distinguish between a legitimately licensed image and one that is not, there are some simple ways you can check the usage rights of an image from Google. This will help you to ensure that you do not infringe on the copyright of an image from Google and to avoid having to pay any legal fees should a third party decide to sue you for infringement.

The easiest way to find out the usage rights of an image from Google is to search for it using the search engine and then click on the ‘Usage Rights’ filter under ‘Search tools’. This will allow you to sort images by their license, whether it is Creative Commons or commercial.

There are also many free stock image websites available online, such as Pexels, Unsplash and Pixabay, which offer a wide variety of freely-licensed images. These are a great way to get the perfect image for your projects without compromising on copyright law.

You can also use the WikiMedia Commons website to find images that are in the public domain and are therefore not protected by copyright laws. These images are either created by people who give up their copyright, or are in the public domain for reasons such as expiry of the copyright.

If you are unsure of the usage rights of an image from Google, it is best to contact the image’s creator or publisher to ask for permission to use the image and to ensure that you do not infringe their copyright. However, it is important to remember that this can be a lengthy process and you may not be able to obtain the desired copyright permissions for every single image that you want to use from Google.

Google has just launched a new filter on its image search that allows you to sort images by their usage rights. The new filter is a step in Google’s long-term move to legally protect the images it serves to users. It is now possible to filter images by their license – either Creative Commons or commercial – and Google will also surface information on how to obtain the relevant rights directly from the image’s description.

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