If you shot the image with your camera, or if you designed it, was it your original concept?
If so, you automatically own the copyright.
Is the image your original creation? Did you design
the graphic or capture
the photo yourself?
Was the idea for the design your own idea?
If the image isn’t your original creation, ask yourself the following to determine if it’s eligible for fair use, a doctrine which allows you to use copyrighted material under certain circumstances:
Do you plan to use the image for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research?
If someone else took the photo, or if the image you created is too similar to someone else’s design, you can’t use the graphic.
If you aren’t sure if the image is your original creation, it’s better to take caution when using it. Research the picture to confirm if you inadvertently copied someone else’s idea.
Is it possible to obtain permission from the image’s original source?
Will you profit personally
or commercially from publishing the image?
If it’s impossible to obtain permission (70 years has passed since the creator has died and no other person owns the rights), you may be able to use the image.
If you are uncertain if the image is in the public domain or creative commons, avoid using it until you've obtained permission.
If your image is in the public domain, its original creators already released their publication rights. Images protected by Creative Commons may also be used, but certain conditions could apply.
Did you purchase the image or obtain permission from its original source?
Once you’ve purchased publication rights, you are free to use the image for whatever purpose, unless otherwise stated in the purchase agreement.
If you didn’t purchase the image, and it’s not available for free use under any other stipulation, you should under no circumstances use the image, regardless of where you originally found it.
Always obtain permission from the original creator or copyright owner, or just create an original image yourself.
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How to Legally Use Copyrighted