How to Check If an Image Can Be Used For Commercial Use

How do you check if an image can be used for commercial use

Whether it is for retail, editorial or commercial use, any photographic image has a value associated with it. Using an image without the right permissions could result in a costly fine.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these types of violations. Generally, the first thing you need to consider is who owns the copyright.


The internet is awash with images, but it is important to remember that many of these are protected by copyright. Without the permission or license of the copyright owner, it is illegal to use any work which is protected by copyright.

Photographers should be especially careful, as photo copyright laws generally state that whoever pushed the shutter button owns the image in question. This means that even amateur photographers can have protected photos, and without the rights holder’s permission, it would be an infringement of copyright to make any use of the image.

It’s also worth remembering that, in addition to the right to control who can use a copyrighted work, a creator of a work has a’moral right’ to be acknowledged as its author. This means that if the creator of a photo has asserted this right, then any person using the work should credit them as its creator. Failure to do so would constitute a breach of the copyright holder’s moral rights.

As far as licensing images goes, there are a variety of options available. It is possible to purchase licenses for individual works from the copyright owner, or through a picture library which has been granted a licence to manage the rights of the works it holds on behalf of their copyright owners. If you are unable to locate the copyright owner for a particular work, this does not mean that it is out of bounds to use the work; it may be possible to apply for an orphan works licence with the Intellectual Property Office.

It is also a good idea to check the terms of any licence that you purchase, as these can vary between vendors and the type of use being made of the image. For example, some may only allow re-use for a specific period of time, and others may only permit commercial or non-commercial use of the image. Generally, the best option is to ask for permission from the copyright owner; this can be done through any means (orally or in writing), and should always include a fee, as the image creator will have their own views about what a fair price is.

Public Domain

If an image is in the public domain, it means that its copyright has expired and is no longer protected. This allows anyone to use the work for any purpose without having to ask permission or give credit. There are several ways to find images in the public domain. You can use search engines like Google and Bing, or visit websites that specialize in copyright-free images. These sites include Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay. Some of these sites require attribution while others do not.

It is also possible to find images in the public domain by visiting online museum archives and government databases. The Library of Congress has a good selection of free photos, as does the Smithsonian and other national libraries. The website Wikimedia Commons also has a large collection of public domain images. Another option is to check out sites that specialize in historical photography or maps. While individual works in the public domain can be used for commercial purposes, a collection of them may be protected under collective works copyright. This is because the way that the work is arranged or presented may be considered to be a creative expression.

Another way to find images that can be used for commercial purposes is to use the CC0 license. This type of license allows people to remix, tweak, or build upon a work and then share their versions under the same license. This is the best way to create a derivative work that can be used for commercial purposes.

Whether an image is in the public domain or CC0, it is still important to check its copyright status before using it for commercial purposes. It is not uncommon for people to claim copyright on public domain works, so you should always do your research before using a public domain image for commercial purposes.

The most reliable method for checking an image’s copyright is to look at its source and make sure that it has a Creative Commons attribution license, or the CC0 license. This will help you avoid any unnecessary legal issues.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that offers a set of license contracts that allow content creators to specify their public usage rights. The licenses do not override copyright laws or remove the ability to claim fair use, but they do provide a more flexible framework that is more suitable for online sharing and discovery. CC licenses can be applied to any type of media, including images, video, music, and text.

The different types of CC licenses offer a variety of options for users, including the option to allow commercial use. However, even with the flexibility of a CC license, you should always make sure to attribute the work and link back to its origin. The attribution is not required by law, but it is a matter of courtesy and respect. For more information on CC attribution, see the CC Wiki.

Most CC licenses allow for some form of redistribution or remixing, but not all do. The CC BY-ND license prohibits remixing and redistribution, while the CC BY-NC allows for redistribution and remixes but requires that they be for noncommercial purposes. A CC BY-SA license permits anyone to modify and reuse the work, provided they credit the original creator and distribute their modification under identical terms.

In addition to the license options, Creative Commons also offers other tools that can be used in conjunction with the licenses, including a public domain dedication tool for rights holders who want to put their works into the public domain before their copyright expires. Creative Commons also offers a range of other legal and technical tools, such as the CC symbol and a tool to search for CC licensed content online.

When searching for images, it is important to check if they are licensed under a Creative Commons license before using them. The CC logo is not required for all works, but it is an excellent way to identify if the image can be used for commercial purposes or not. In addition, the attribution line should include the name of the author and a link to the CC website where the work is located.


If an image is copyrighted, it can’t be used without the permission of the owner. This can have legal and financial consequences for anyone that doesn’t obtain the correct license. This is why it’s important to research images before using them for commercial use online.

Whether it’s for a brochure, blog post, sales presentation or other piece of content, adding images can improve the overall experience of your audience. However, it’s not as easy as just finding an image and pulling it up on your computer. It’s necessary to check for the right licenses before using an image for commercial purposes.

To find out who holds the copyright on an image, you can look at the metadata of the file. The information will be displayed in a pop-up window when you click on the picture. It will usually include the name of the artist and the copyright information. If you want to know more, you can also search the U.S. Copyright Office database by the image title and name.

Another way to check if an image is copyrighted is to look for a watermark. Many photographers and artists will place a watermark on their images to protect them from being used illegally. This can be in the form of a company logo, the c symbol or a caption that indicates ownership or sourcing.

Lastly, you can look at the image’s Creative Commons license to see what permissions it has been given. There are a variety of different CC licenses, each with their own set of restrictions and allowances. For example, some CC images require crediting the creator while others allow commercial use.

You can also try searching for a stock photo with an Extended License. This type of license allows you to use the image for multiple products and commercial designs. You can buy this kind of image by creating a customer account on a stock image website and choosing the Extended licensing option. This is a great way to save time and money by not having to go through the hassle of finding out who owns the copyright for each individual image.

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