Guide to Using Online Images

The first step to finding images for your project is to question whether or not your effort is commercial or noncommercial.

Images, like words, have value: they are governed in society by conventions such intellectual property law. These laws are very important to society: they are designed to foster creativity and to incentivize entrepreneurship. Copyright policies protect the rights of authors and creators.

And yet copyright policies may also inhibit the free flow of information, data. Proponents of open data, open networks, open copyright question the possibility that copyright can also impair creativity.

In today’s information ecology, writers can choose to license their texts and images under a Creative Commons license. Writers can choose specific licenses to define exactly how future users may access the work:

NonCommercial Works

If you’re work is of a noncommercial nature, you are likely to have more options than if your project is commercial. Photographers and social media enthusaists aaccess some royalty free images. That said, while these images may be free, they may also be tied to traditional copyright or Creative Commons licenses with defined usage guidelines.

Commercial Works

if you are engaged in a commercial enterprise, finding rhetorically appropriate, quality images that are royalty free can be extremely challenging. For businesses, it’s strategic to take advantage of online sites that sell and license images, such as Adobe Stock or Getty Images.

Rather than find an image online, consider developing your own photographs. You may take your own photographs or hire a professional photographer and/or designer. However, if you’re on a tight budget there are a number of great search tools you can sort through to find images that permit reuse for commercial purposes.

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