According to many surveys, Internet users prefer websites which have images on their pages. But, for many website owners, this well-known fact has become a problem because they can’t take their own professional photos and they are not prepared to invest in professional photography either. Downloading randomly found images is not an option because you may end up in legal problems. But, many website owners don’t know that they can use Creative Commons images on their websites.
Creative Commons is actually a term that describes a specific license which allows individuals and organizations to use other people’s work for free. Keep in mind that there are four different Creative Commons licenses. First of all, there’s CC 0 license which lets you use images and other work without the need to cite the resource. CC BY is a license which lets you use media for free, but only if you cite the source. CC BY-SA does the same and protects your work. Finally, there is a CC-BY-ND license which doesn’t allow users to modify the images or other types of media and asks you to cite the source.
If you are interested in using Creative Commons images, you should take a few things into account. First and foremost, stay away from images that contain trademarked symbols and/or logos. Even if the images is under a Creative Commons license, trademark keeps the original user safe and lets them sue others for using their unique trademarks.
Don’t forget that no one can suggest or claim that the images they are using under Creative Commons license are theirs except for the original author. Even the CC0 images are not an exception. You also can’t claim a copyright in these images.
It would be nice if you cite the source of the image even if you don’t have to. By doing this, you are encouraging artists to share their work in the future. The good news is that there are many websites out there where you can find CC images. For instance, Wikimedia Commons is a place where you can find literally thousands of these images and most of them have CC0 license which means that you can use them in almost any project you want, be it personal or commercial. Some other great examples of websites which are sharing Creative Commons images include Pixabay, Pexels, Flickr, and Unsplash.