How to know if an image is copyrighted or not

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Are you going to use an image for your project, but don’t know if it is copyrighted?

Don’t worry, you can use different online services to find out if an image is protected by copyright.

In fact, in this guide we will not only explain how to know if an image is covered by copyright or not, but also how to find images without copyright.

Content index

Know if an image is copyrighted

Conditions of use of a site

Were you able to locate the website from which an image comes from?

Then first of all scroll down the main page (or home page) of the site and click on PrivacyCopyrightTerms of use or other (depending on the site of origin).

Now locate the paragraph in which it is mainly the re-use of images or other contents of the site, and if the prohibition to reuse or modify images is expressed, then it means that the image you selected is covered by copyright.

Reverse search Google Images

To find out if an image is copyrighted and is already used on other Internet sites, follow the steps below:

  1. First, head to the official page of Google Images and click on ‘camera icon placed on the search bar.
  2. If you have already downloaded the image to your computer, then select the Upload an image tab and click on Choose file to load the content.
  3. If you prefer to paste the link of an image taken from the Internet, then select the Paste Image URL tab and then click on Search via image.
  4. Now scroll to the section Visually similar images where you will find images similar to the one selected, or to the Pages section that contain similar images where you will find the Internet sites that use the selected image.
  5. Finally, locate the website from which the image comes, and consult the site’s conditions of use to see if the image is copyrighted.

Image sales sites

On the Web there are many sites that deal mainly with the sale of images, and from which it is possible to find out whether an image is covered by copyright or not.

Here is the list of the main image sales sites that you can consult:

Now all you need to do is look in the search bar for the image you are going to use: if the image itself is present in one of the sites, then it means that it is covered by copyright and that you need to purchase the license for personal use or commercial.

Find images without copyright

Fortunately, on the Web there are several sites that allow you to find images without copyright. So let’s see what are the main sites to visit in these cases:

  • Google Images: it is sufficient to go to the official page, search for the image of your interest and click on Enter. Then click first on the Tools item under the search bar, and then on the Use Rights menu to filter the results: Marked to be reused (free personal and commercial use), Marked to be reused with modifications (free personal use and commercial following a change of the image), Marked for non-commercial use (free use only in personal projects), Marked for non-commercial re-use with modifications (free use only in personal projects following an image change).
  • Pixabay: just go to the official page, search for the image of your interest and click on Enter: all the images on the site can be downloaded or reused freely for both personal and commercial use.
  • OpenPhoto: just go to the official page, select the desired category of images or search for the image of your interest by clicking on Search at the top: all images on the site can be downloaded or reused freely for both personal and commercial use.

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About Tarun Bhardwaj

I'm a fan of the world of video games for PCs since childhood, from the days of games on Floppy Disk and the last glories of the Commodore, reading magazines such as PC Gamer, Games For My Computer and many others. Even the other platforms intrigue me, but the first love never forgets.