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Is it "legal" to use any image from google images as long as its not for profit use? Answered

In reference to an instructable  (https://www.instructables.com/id/No-camera-No-problem/), I never have got a clear answer as to the use of images from a Google search. Thanks



Best Answer 5 years ago


Google just scans the internet and presents the found images. That does not mean in any way, that these images are free to use or free of rights. There are images that are in the public domain or where the owner / creator released them (e.g. with a Creative Customs License) but don't count on it.

Some brands (esp. cloth labels) actively search the internet for others misusing their logos, designs etc. and will sue the offender.

Whether you use it commercially or only non-commercially does only matter if the granted license especially says so (e.g. there is a non-commercial restricted version of the Creative Customs License and one that is free for all). Commercial use might reward you with a higher penalty, though.

The risk to be actually sued might be small, e.g. if the rights holder is a company in a foreign country. A) They have to find the page where you used the image, B) they will have to find you and C) they have to have the will and money to start a lawsuit in your country. But still, there is a risk.

So, try to find images in the public domain or with a license that allows the use.

I need to use images of about 2000 faces, do you know a site where I can get these faces and legally use them? The images will be used in a device that will generate money so I need to be able to use these pics for my own personal gain.

I need to use images of about 2000 faces, do you know a site where I can get these faces and legally use them? The images will be used in a device that will generate money so I need to be able to use these pics for my own personal gain.

Short answer , NO .
Everyone else is giving you good information , but I will add a little more . First of all ANY photograph or artwork is automatically copy written in the USA . So all your pictures on flickr for example are copy-write protected . But when you or others post pictures you can select the level of use . Some cannot be used by anyone at all and at the other end of the scale some people will let you use their stuff in any manner . There is even what is called " stock " photos that are meant for anyone to use . There is sometimes a fee or restrictions . My photos for example are open for use , but I want to know where . Most photo and art sites have different levels of sharing that you can easily check out . It can be really annoying to have some steal your artwork plus most sites will band you for using others work as your own .

good to hear from you ray........and thanks :) this was an eye opener of a question!

Honestly even doing a pencil drawing or a painting of someones photo or other artwork can be considered copy-write violation depending on how close it is . But a photo of their work as part of a larger work isn't . You should try to identify the work and artist in your caption , much in the same way you would get someone's permission to take someone's picture .


5 years ago

Start with a NO-PICTURE reverse it, change some shape, change some color or get permission..


oh that's good. THANKS!

I think everyone else has the answer (no) and reason (everything is owned by someone) pretty much covered to a T so here is a solution:
Instead of searching Google, search Wikimedia Commons. It is a huge database, as of writing its pushing 14 million items, of completely free to use media, mostly pictures. You still need to check the license on the pictures you want to use as the owner will probably want you to credit them where ever you use their photo and some licenses prevent modification or commercial use but that's it usually.

As others have noted, "no".

Plus, authors here are subject to the site's ToS - you are responsible for the legality of the content you post, and if the owners of the images you have mis-used here were to find out, and make a specific request to the site, you would at least get this project deleted, and could have your account revoked.

Potentially, the site could be required to hand over all contact details they have for you, to allow the relevant authorities to pursue a prosecution under relevant national and international laws.


Everything on the internet belongs to someone and depending on their countries laws they own the copyright to the image.

However Many royalty free pictures exist but they still belong to someone and many of the pictures are re posts many times removed from the original.

Your unlikely to be sued - Perhaps may get a take down request if it gets noticed.