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designgem

Is it ethical to use free stock photo sites?

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I know there are lots of completely free stock photo sites cropping up everywhere now, but there seems to be some controversy over photographers effectively working for free, and also copyright issues where photos are sometimes taken down as fast as they're put up. What do you think?

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It's totally ethical if you're on a tight budget or just a few simple photos, sites like http://www.freeimages.com/ can have some good images if you look for them. Saying that commercially licenced stock images are always better quality, offer more choice and licence conditions won't change once purchased.

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I feel it's ethical if it's not being abused by people posting others' work and claiming it's their own. I'd actually think that's more likely to happen on a paid microstock site. There has to be a certain level of trust or you just can't do anything except use photos you've taken yourself.

 

I'd look at https://pixabay.com/

Edited by Jane B

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I feel it's ethical if it's not being abused by people posting others' work and claiming it's their own.

 

This.

 

Unfortunately there seems to be a widespread Wild West attitude towards whether it is OK to steal a commodity just because it consists of zeros and ones

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Hey @@designgem,

 

I'm a little late to the party on this post but here goes.

 

From a legal and copyright standpoint, the free stock photos from reputable sites like:

- Unsplash

- Pexels

- Pixabay

 

...have been sourced and vetted appropriately so there's little risk of pirated images. The photographers that contribute to these sites have granted a Creative Commons Zero license (CC0) which, in short, means you can use without payment or attribution to the photographer or the website.

 

31514.jpeg

 

Some of the photographers that contribute these free stock photos are amateurs building a portfolio. Some are professionals that contribute as part of their marketing (e.g. rawpixel).

 

To be clear, it's not stealing. These images (along with the CC0 usage rights) have been granted by these talented photographers for personal or commercial use at zero cost. My advice is just to make sure you source them from reputable sites that have checks in place should there be any question of copyright.

 

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.

Edited by webdesigner93
Removed links no link dropping use signature

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I think as long as those images are available to use with the permission of respective photographers, it would not be considered as a copyright issue.

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The issue with free photo sites is usually the range of subjects - and sometimes quality. I'd also recommend https://stocksnap.io/ - from the people who make Snappa so good commercial reasons to do a good job even for a free site.

 

Also beware of photos with people as they should be accompanied by a model release (an agreement from the subject that their likeness).

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