Searching images for your site can be a hard tackle. This is even worse when you do not have the cash to pay for royalties or hire professional photography services. Also, your budget may be at your neck making it hard to purchase a high-resolution camera. However, you have heard about public domain images. Through your interpretation, you guess that anything in public domain is available for use by anyone. But you are not sure that the same policy applies to these images or not. Here are things you need to know about images termed as public domains:
They are free to use but without infringing other people’s rights
While Public domain images are free for use, they are not secure to copyright. Most of these images gain the status due to license expiry. Therefore, to use these images, you have to seek consent from the original photographer. Hence, using some images deemed as a public domain may result in legal proceedings. Take it this way, how would you feel seeing your face appearing on an advert yet no one consulted you. For this reason, you should always do due diligence before using any images carrying the banner “on the public domain.”
Some public domain images require model release or property release
Model release means that you need to seek consent from people whose faces are appearing on an image sourced from public domain stocks. On the other hand, the property release is seeking permission of use from the owner of properties featured on an image. As such, even though images may be termed as on public domain. You need to ensure that they are free from the above requirements. Otherwise, the people featured in them may sue you for infringing their rights without their consent.
Avoid using public domain images for commercial purposes
While these types of images are free for use, some of them have limitations. Unlike the images obtained from photo stocks, these photos get their condition due to the expiry of their copyright licenses or non-existent of the same. Also, even though the model may release them for public use, for you to use them for commercial purpose, you require consent from the owner. Ignoring this aspect can attract court cases as the owner may demand compensation for their work. Nevertheless, you can use these images if you can satisfy the consent requirements.
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And that is all you need to know about public domain images.