Contrary to popular belief, you do need to worry about copyright when you’re hunting for images for use in your news and commentaries. Unlike in a face-to-face classroom, copyright laws apply to images used in online courses even though they’re being used for educational purposes and even though we use a password-protected site like our LMS. (Read The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons blog post by EduBlogs for more information on this topic.)
Good news: there are many images on the web that you can use. Bad news: copyright laws are very confusing. The enterprise is fraught with questions such as is an image free to use for commercial uses, or for personal use, and does a commentary count as commercial or personal, and how is royalty free different from actual free, etc.
To keep things simple, we recommend only using free images that do not require attribution. Please note: not every image that is free is able to be used without attribution. This explanation from Inc.com not only lists a bunch of sites (many that we have below), it also has a succinct explanation of the different types of licenses you’ll come across as you search for free images. A good rule of thumb is that if something is offered with a CC0 license, then it is free to use without attribution. You may edit the image, use it as is, etc. Just don’t claim the work as your own or use it in a way that casts the subject or the website in a bad light.
All of these sites offer all of their images for use with a CC0 license.
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