Why are the images on this site free to use, what is the benefit to the creator?
Some of the images on this web site are offered free of charge under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license which licenses the user to display the image to the public free of charge as long as the user follows the terms of the license.
The Creative Commons license requires, amonget other things, that an attribution link be given to the creator of the image in the format requested so the user receives a free image and the creator gains exposure for their work and a valuable link to their web site - it is a win win situation.
Are all Creative Commons licenses the same?
There are various types of Creative Commons licenses and all allow the free use of an image but some don't permit the images to be altered and others prohibit commercial use, it is important to read the license terms before using the image.
What does a Creative Commons license require?
You need to read the license for yourself here but the basis requirements are;
Three links are required;
First a link using the title of the work linked to where you found the image ie this web site.
Second a link to the Creative Commons license itself so others can see the terms they can use the link on.
Third a link to the creator of the image in the format requested.
All this information is provided below each image on the web site and can be unobtrusively placed below the image like this;
This link or something similar should be placed on each public display of the image.
There are various other requirements of the license particularly regarding modifications, and reselling the images so it is important to read the license itself if you wish to take advantage of free images licensed under the various Creative Commons licenses.
What is the position if the license terms are not followed?
Should the creator find the image on your web site and there is no way to discern it has been used in accordance with the license it is offered under and you have not given the required attribution to the creator then it is a breach of the owners copyright and you leave yourself open to a claim for breach of copyright.
In practice the creator of the image will normally send an email requesting the payment of the license fee of a few dollars but if the image is being used on a commercial site such as one offering legal services, web design services, banks, real estate companies etc (often sites managed by professional web designers who have probably charged their client for the use of the image) then the creator may well instigate legal action.
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