What Images Can I Use Without Copyright?

The internet is awash with stunning, eye-catching images that can help you create content that’s both creative and compelling. However, it’s important to know that many of these images are not free for commercial use without the author’s permission.

This is because copyright law protects original works of authorship. These include literary, musical, artistic and other types of works.

Public Domain

If you are looking for some images to use in your creative project or website, you can find some great options that are free of charge. These photos are usually part of the Public Domain, meaning that they are not protected by copyright and can be used freely without the need to cite the source.

The term Public Domain refers to a period in history when works of art, books, and music are no longer protected by copyright. This includes works created before 1978 that haven’t had their copyrights renewed, as well as works that were published in 1922 or earlier – unless they’re anonymous works or corporate works (published by a company).

There are many reasons why works of art, literature, and music are in the Public Domain: They don’t belong to anyone else, they haven’t been registered with copyright holders or they’ve died. However, if you’re planning on using an image in your work, it’s important to know the Public Domain rules and how to legally use it.

To determine whether an image is in the public domain, check to see if it has the Public Domain Mark or the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication mark visible. If it doesn’t, it’s probably not in the public domain, so you should try another resource.

One of the best places to look for free stock images is Pixabay, a site that has more than two million high-quality photos, vector graphics and illustrations for both personal and commercial use. It also has a search feature, Explore, Editor’s Choice pages and curated collections – everything you need to get started with your next creative project!

Unsplash is another popular website that offers a variety of free stock photos. Its Explore page makes it easy to browse by subject, genre and trending searches. You can also see a leaderboard for the latest downloads and find a selection of high-quality photos in a specific color, orientation or pixel size.

If you’re interested in finding public domain images for your work, be sure to check out the sites mentioned above, and be sure to read their terms of service carefully. Some of these sites offer paid, royalty-free images as well, but these can be more expensive than the free ones.

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons is an organisation that provides a suite of licenses that allows creators to share their work without having to worry about copyright issues. This allows people to re-use and adapt the work of others in a number of different ways, from remixing music to using photographs for commercial purposes.

There are six basic CC licences that you can apply to your own creative works. Each licence has its own specific stipulations and restrictions. This means that it is important to read through each CC license to make sure you are using it properly.

For example, some CC licenses require that you credit the author, title and license of any work that you use in your work. This ensures that you are not infringing on their rights and that you are giving the work a fair deal.

Other CC licenses don’t require any attribution but still give you the freedom to use the work as you wish, so long as you are not making money from it. This can be useful if you are producing an educational film or want to show your students the world around you, but it is important to check the terms of the license carefully.

Another CC license is a public domain dedication, which allows you to relinquish all copyright on your work and place it in the public domain. This is particularly useful if you don’t want to pay for rights to your work or are concerned about infringement.

The Creative Commons is a great way to get access to a huge amount of creative works from all over the world. It also makes it easier to find and re-use creative content, and helps encourage other creators to share their work with the world.

If you are interested in learning more about CC and how it can help you, you can attend one of the workshops offered by the Libraries, or book a one-on-one session with one of our staff members. We can assist you in finding the right Creative Commons license for your project and answer any questions you may have.


If you are looking for high-quality photos for your website, blog or other online content, Unsplash is a great resource. The site offers free, royalty-free images that can be used without copyright restrictions. These photos are available through a free subscription, and the site also has collections that make it easy to find relevant images quickly.

You can also use the Unsplash search bar to find an image for your website or blog post. Once you’ve found an image, you can add it to your media library with a simple drag and drop.

Another way to add Unsplash images to your website is to use a WordPress plugin that allows you to easily insert Unsplash photos into your content. The block can be easily installed using the Gutenberg editor, and it works with any theme that includes an image block.

A WordPress user can search Unsplash for the right image to display in their posts or pages, and then drag and drop it into the block’s popup window. The images are displayed as a regular image block and include an attribution link.

When you use a Unsplash image in your content, it’s important to read the license information associated with it carefully. This will help you determine whether the photo is licensed under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license or a different one.

CC0 is a license created by Creative Commons that allows users to share and modify images freely as long as they credit the original artist. It is the best option for using images in your website or blog.

Although CC0 can be a good option for many websites, it has some limitations. For example, you cannot sell photos directly from Unsplash without making significant changes to them. This can limit your use of the image, and it can cause problems if the photographer finds out that their work is being sold online.

Additionally, if you are going to use an Unsplash image of someone’s face, it’s important to obtain their consent. If you do not, you may be violating their privacy or trademark rights.


Shutterstock is a stock photography and video platform that has an extensive library of content for creatives to use in their projects. This includes images, footage, editorial, and music.

Its mission is to offer high-quality images that are easy to search and download. To do this, the company screened every contributor and image to ensure they meet their quality standards.

When a contributor creates an image for the site, they agree to give their images a license that allows them to be used by customers under certain terms. This means they get paid for their work as soon as a customer uses it.

There are two types of licenses you can buy on Shutterstock: the Standard and Enhanced. The Standard license allows you to use an image for a specific number of copies or impressions, while the Enhanced license offers you much more freedom in how and where you can use it.

The most common type of Shutterstock license is the Standard one. It lets you use an image for 500K copies or impressions, and it also includes the right to sell the image for commercial purposes.

However, if you want to use an image more than 500,000 times, you’ll need to purchase an Enhanced license. This license gives you more legal coverage, and it’s also much more affordable.

You can also sign up for a free Shutterstock account and download one stock photo and one vector every week. This is a great way to test the waters without having to pay for a full subscription.

In addition, the site offers a variety of tools and resources for designers. These include the Top Performers page, which lets you see which photos are selling well and what kind of customers they attract.

Another useful tool is the Editor. This software lets you easily edit your images using your browser or an app on your device. This can save you a lot of time and help streamline your workflow. You can change the color, size, and other details of your image before downloading it to use for your next project.

Similar Posts