Here we show you how and where to get public domain photos legitimately without having to worry about copyright infringement.NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org
There is so much highway robbery and plagarism and thievery and a whole bunch of other negative nouns to describe copyright infringement when it comes to blog post photos. However, you can use other people’s photos, as long as you do it legally. There is a right way to use other people’s photos and there is a wrong way.
Non Public Domain Photos: The Wrong Way to Steal Images for Your Site
Grabbing any image you see and like on the internet and plopping it into your blog post without any attribution to the original photographer whatsoever. Not cool. Use public domain photos. Or your own.
Public Domain Photos: The Right Ways to Steal Images for your Site.
1. Get Permission
This means when you see a photo you like, you ask the author of that blog post if you may use it on your website and that you will “attribute” them, meaning, you will give them credit as the image source and link back to them.
2. Use Images that are in the Public Domain
How do you know if images are in the public domain? You search sites that are specifically dedicated to warehousing public domain images. Here are a few places you can go:
List of Public Domain Photo Resources
Note: If you’re not sure about how to credit photos, check the individual website’s policy (try their About page). At a minimum, say “Image Source:” followed by a link back to the page where you got it.
A search engine for free photos. These come from many sources and are license-specific. Click the license tab or icon to determine how you are allowed to use it.
The NASA Images site contains everything from classic photos to educational programming and HD video. In general their content is not under copyright and so can be used without express permission. I got the above photo from NASA and gave credit according to their About page.
You can get images of tornados, hurricanes, ocean creatures and other fun stuff from here. Most of the 32,000+ photos in the The NOAA Photo Library are in the public domain and cannot be copyrighted. Credit must be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce. Where a photographer is noted, please credit the photographer and his/her affiliated organization as well.
Morgue File is a public image resource (aka FREE!) for creatives by creatives. Donate your own photos while you’re there.
This is a great resource for those little cartoony illustrations when you need one. The Open Clipart Library (OCAL) is the Largest Collaboration Community that creates, shares and remixes clipart. All clipart is released to the public domain and may be used in any project for free and with no restrictions.
A database of 13,000,000+ (that’s 13 million!) freely usable images. Wow! The USA’s National Archives and Records Administration has contributed over 100,000 historical photographs and documents from its archives.
Great for finding vintage photos, the NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library’s vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video and that are in the public domain. You are free to use them as you wish – no permission is necessary. They do ask that you please give credit to the photographer or creator and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Flickr has many photos that are okay to use, but to save yourself some grief and time, look for those that are under the Creative Commons license. It’s not strictly “public domain”, but you can use them with little restriction. After you enter your search terms and hit enter, there will be a results page with a link to “advanced search”. Click that link.
On the Advanced Search screen, scroll down to the bottom, check the Creative Commons checkbox and click the SEARCH button.
For an excruciatingly long list of public domain image sources, go to the Wikipedia Public Domain Image Resource Page.
(Image Source: NASA)