Today, it's easy to find beautiful images to decorate a website, a flyer or a publication on social networks. But everything you find on the internet doe n't give you all the rights in the use of these contents.
- Can I use these content found on the Internet for commercial purposes?
- Can I make some changes?
- Do I need to mention the author?
It all depends on where you found them and what is there licenses. Here are some examples of banks where you can find the best items while using them in the rules.
What does Royalty Free mean?
Contrary to what we might think, the notion of "free of rights" doesn't mean that the content is completely free to use. It simply means that its rights are governed by a license to use. The author has simply decided to lend you its use in exchange for the respect of certain rules defined by him, or those created by the Creative Commons (for more information, consult our article on the subject).
How to use a royalty free content
Creative commons licenses are not that complicated to understand. They are based on 5 very simple rules that are applied (or not) to each content free of right and which give information on the use of it (we often find the small acronyms on the images which give you quickly the information)
Attribution (BY): In general, a lot of copyright-free content requires at least the attribution of the author's credit to each place where the content is used. But beware, this doesn't act as an endorsement from the author, there could be conditions!
No commercial use (NC - Non commercial): This isn't the case for all, but it may be that the image you just downloaded for your future advertising campaign doesn't allow its commercial use. It's therefore important to check the license to ensure your rights of use.
No modifications (ND - NoDerivs): As the name implies, this means that you simply don't have permission to modify the work in any way whatsoever. No truncation, no change of colors, no way to draw a part, etc.
Sharing under the same conditions (SA - ShareAlike): This acronym tells you that if you re-share a download content under this license, you must leave it the same license, even if you arranged it.
Zero (CC0): This license is the simplest, it indicates that the author completely waives his rights. But the regulation may depend on local legislation and may be equivalent to the CC-BY license.
Where to find royalty free content
Below is a quick analysis of the different services according to our understanding. We advise you to validate the terms on their site before using them.
Freepik is an international site for recovering all kinds of visual content such as images, pictograms, icons but also mockups. Even if it offers a premium option at $14/month with access to more qualitative files, free contents are often very good too.
The contents of Freepik are not that restrictive. They are usable for all kinds of projects (commercial or personal), on any support, for an unlimited number of use, without any geographical delimitation and with possibility of modification.
Good to know:
- The number of downloadable content is limited when not connected to a personal account. But the registration to the site remains free.
- The user must always credit the author wherever the artwork is used.
Unsplash is an excellent image bank offering a large selection of photos sorted by categories and keywords. Downloads are free and unlimited. You can still create a free account to share your images but it is not a must.
Unsplash doesn't impose any limits! All the photos are usable for all kinds of projects (commercial or personal), on any support, for an unlimited number of use, without any geographical delimitation, with possibility of modification and especially, without obligation of attribution of the credit to the author, even if it's still appreciated ;-)
Good to know:
- Searches can be done exclusively in English
Flaticon is part of the same company as Freepik but can only find icons and pictograms, perfect to compliment a resume or to put a little dynamism in a website. Housed in the same brand as Freepik, many quality icons are available with a premium account at $ 14 / month but it is not a must.
The icons downloaded via Flaticon have few constraints. They are usable for all kinds of projects (commercial or personal), on any support, for an unlimited number of use, without any geographical delimitation and with possibility of modification.
Good to know:
- Searches must be done exclusively in English and without any spelling mistakes.
- The number of downloadable content is limited when not connected to a personal account. But like to Freepik, the registration to the site remains free if necessary.
- If you are not a premium member, you must absolutely credit the author with a mention "Designed by ... from Flaticon"
Creative commons are the ones who created the licenses that allow authors to make their creations available with strict usage rules. The association has opened its own content search engine classified by collection and keywords, to specify our research as needed.
Each image proposed in the search engine is subject to a particular license that is found in the code attached to the image. You can search by license to find content that's good for you:
- CC0: No constraints concerning the use of the image.
- Public Domain Mark: Refers to all works that have fallen into the public domain.
- BY: Simple attribution of credit to the author.
- BY SA: Attribution of credit to the author and the sharing must be under the same conditions.
- BY NC: Attribution of credit to the author and no commercial use.
- BY ND: Attribution of the credit to the author and no change is allowed.
- BY NC SA: Attribution of credit to the author, no commercial use and sharing must be under the same conditions.
- BY NC ND: Attribution of credit to the author, no commercial use and no change is allowed.
- The site currently allows only to search for images but would like to eventually offer more kind of content.
Just like Freepik, Pixabay is a search engine for content free of rights! There are photos, videos, illustrations and vectors (often icons). All contents are findable with keywords and happen to be of good quality.
The content made available to you by Pixabay has no constraint. They are usable for all kinds of projects (personal or commercial), without obligation of attribution (even if this one is always appreciated of course), on any support, for an unlimited number and with possibility of modification
Good to know:
- Even if it's not mandatory, registration (free) is required if you want to download an image in high resolution.
- The website is exclusively in French.
Graphberry is a very interesting source for mockups and templates for you to put your situation (creation of website, mobile application, kakemono, poster ...). But you can also find plenty of other content such as icons kit or GUI.
No registration requirements, all contents of Graphberry have no constraints of use. They are usable for all kinds of projects (personal or commercial), without obligation of attribution (even if this one is always appreciated of course), on any support, for an unlimited number and with possibility of modification
La Musique Libre
Free Music is a Youtube channel that offers a wide choice of free music for your videos! The point is to take the time to look for the one that suits you without taking the first one that comes to hand (some are already used by many users). The videos are categorized as "Royalty Free Music" and "Non-Copyright Music".
Good to know:
- For each use, an attribution is necessary. Everything is explained in the description of each video with the message to copy and paste in the description of your video when it is published.
- For some music, commercial use requires getting in touch with the creator of the video.
- Downloading music via Youtube requires a free subscription to Soundcloud but it is possible to use a converter that allows you to easily download the sound of a Youtube video.
Hard to believe but yes, we can find royalty-free images on the Google search engine. To do this, simply configure your search parameters:
- When you get to the search results, go to the "Tools" section
- Then click on "Usage rights"
- Select the right license you want for your search
Be careful though, this doesn't inform you of every usage rights attach to this image. Remember to check your rights by going to the site where the image is published.
Let your imagination go crazy!
Here you are, provided with a toolbox that will be very useful for your next graphic creations, videos or publications on social networks! Don't forget to respect the conditions of use of each content you collect to ensure your rights!
If you have questions concerning the free of rights usage to which this article didn't answer, come to the article Images, Rights and Internet which will bring you all complementary answers.
Need help to create visuals for your social networks or any other graphic creations? The 8P team can help you! Contact us and tell us about your project :-)
PS: Please note that our articles are not legal opinions. We advise you to consult a legal professional to validate your actions.