Answered By: Valerie Weis Last Updated: Aug 25, 2020 Views: 92
Under U.S. copyright law, the creator of a work will automatically hold the copyright to his or her work.
There are exceptions to this general rule for images and photographs:
- Created by the U.S federal government;
- In the public domain (first copyrighted in the US prior to 1925) are not subject to copyright law and can be used by others. View Cornell University's "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States" chart for more detailed information about the public domain; or
- Subject to creative commons licenses.
This FAQ will focus on creative commons licensed images in which the creator has chosen to share his or her work with the public by giving up most of the bundle of rights associated with holding a copyright to a work.
If you use a creative commons work, you are usually required to provide attribution to the creator and other conditions may be attached to the license. Be sure to read the creative commons license attached to the work carefully.
The following sites are popular sources of creative commons images: