Image Usage Rights, Simplified

As creators and constant online users, we should have already come across copyright laws by now. But how much do we know about it? How sure are we that we are familiar with our rights as image owners, and that we are not violating any restrictions when grabbing images online? When dealing with visual elements, it is important that we know and respect published works of others, as much as we know about our own rights behind every content we publish on the Internet. Furthermore, it is also important to know that in each platform, there are terms of service that should be taken seriously.


Learning about creative commons, public domain, and all these terms can be tedious. That’s why Curtis Newman of The Visual Communication Guy created a flowchart that will guide you through Image Usage Rights, explained in simple questions that will lead you to answers that say whether or not you are allowed to use and publish a certain image.


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According to Curtis, “The reality is, though, as long as you become familiar with four terms–copyright, fair use, creative commons, and public domain–you’ll have a pretty good idea what you can and can’t do with images.” He adds, “My rule above all else? Ask permission to use all images. If in doubt, don’t use the image!”