Licenses on photo stocks: not prohibited does not mean allowed

In the comments to the blog article about the best free photo stocks, you can find a few questions regarding copyright for photos and images. An employee of one of the photo banks tried to answer them, but today I would like to publish a slightly more detailed article on this topic and at the same time consider the types of licenses in photo stocks. The material was prepared by Yulia Melnichenko.

Not prohibited does not mean allowed

Say that the phrase does not sound right? For the law, this is considered the correct statement: “not prohibited – it means it is allowed.” When it comes to copyright, then everything is far from so simple. Let s first look at the question of what copyright is in relation to photographs and how it is regulated by law. Despite the fact that this article indicates the nuances of legislation in the Russian Federation, information on the types of licenses for photo stocks is relevant for all countries.

“Any photo taken by a professional or amateur, taken with a high-tech camera or the eye of a mobile phone is protected by copyright. Photography refers to works of art in the same way as painting, graphics, sculpture, drawing, caricature, comic strip, design sketch, layout, etc., and its author has all property and non-property rights to this object just because he he created it “(Article 1265 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation)

And some more useful information:

“Copyright to a work of science, literature and art arises from the fact of its creation. For the emergence and exercise of copyright, registration of the work, any special design of the work or compliance with any formalities is not required “(Article 9 of the Law of the Russian Federation” On Copyright and Related Rights “)

Thus, the author is not obliged to register his work anywhere, it is enough just to confirm his authorship if necessary. Even if the author s photo was published by him or a third party, the author does not lose the rights to his image.

Types of licenses in free photo stocks

What rights to images are received by users of paid sites is considered in sufficient detail. But there are also free image databases. Can they be used and how? The easiest way is to find licensed images Creative CommonsThis type of license in photo stocks allows authors to transfer their creation to public use. But there are also pitfalls here, because there are several types of this license.

Types of licenses in free photo stocks

As an example, consider three popular European sites that provide content with raster and vector images: Flickr, Wikimedia and Pixabay.

Flickr and Wikimedia – these are millions of image storages. These are not quite literally photo stocks, because any user can upload their images and they are not verified. Thus, you can spend a lot of time to find a photo of the desired quality. But as an example to use the license Creative Commons they are perfect because there is an indication below each image of how exactly you can use it.

And the options are as follows:

  • All Rights Reserved – all copyrights to the photo belong to the author and this image can be used only after confirmation of his consent.
  • Attribution (attribution) – you can use this image, as well as distribute and modify, provided the link to the author or source site.
  • Attribution No Derivatives (attribution, no derivatives) – you have the same rights as in the previous case, but you can use only the original image, without modifications.
  • Non-Commercial (non-commercial use) – everything is clear from the name. If you want to use it to design your blog, please, but you can print on T-shirts for sale only with the permission of the author.
  • Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives – the conditions are the same as in the previous license, but without the right to modify images.
  • Public Domain Dedication (CC0) – transferring an image to the public domain. You can modify it, use it for commercial purposes, and links to the author or source site are not required.

The largest free German photo stock Pixabay operates under the latter type of license.All images on it are provided under license. Creative Commons CC0. But this does not mean that you can do whatever you want with them. Even such a broad license has its limitations.

So, you CAN change the images, modify them, use them in blogging, website design, printing calendars, business cards, postcards and for any other personal and commercial purposes.

You can not:

  • use images with people identified on them in situations that may compromise them or insult their dignity;

  • use images with people or logos in a way that makes it seem like those people or companies are recommending your product.

Also, do not forget about the owner s release, for example, it is forbidden to use the image of the night illumination of the Eiffel Tower. That is, it turns out that Creative Commons CC0 – this is the disclaimer of the image creator from his copyright of the photo, but all responsibility for the terms of use of this image will lie with you personally.

Another limitation that you can meet on the site is the mark Editorial (Editorial use). Images marked with such a mark may be used exclusively for non-commercial purposes (publishing activities, publications in blogs and encyclopedias, etc.)

So when downloading images, even from free photobanks, be careful and always read the terms of use. It is better to spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the rules than then a few months on possible litigation.

For the prepared information and graphics for the article, thanks to Yulia Melnichenko – a representative of the photo stock Pixabay in Russia.

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