Whether you’re an aspiring blogger or are part of a huge company such as Spotify or Facebook, it’s tough to escape copyright infringement in a digital age. As enticing as it might seem, you can’t legally use any image you’ve found online and throw it in your blog or use it for commercial purposes. The bulk of the images on the web are subject to copyright — meaning the photographer or creator of a particular image retains exclusive rights to that image — and are therefore protected under federal law. Luckily, there is an entire realm of free-for-all images that fall under something called the “public domain.”
Public domain images are available to anyone and can be used for whatever purpose you like, even commercial use, for a variety of reasons; the copyright may have expired, the images could have been taken by a government branch, or the owner may have just forfeited his or her rights for whatever reason. And, although there is a ton of places to find public domain images online, many of the sites offer limited and lackluster results that are more of an eyesore than eye candy. That said, here are our favorite places for downloading public domain images. Have at it.
DISCLAIMER: Copyright properties and conditions vary from one image to the next. Make sure you have an understanding of the license and abide by any restrictions it may have in order to avoid legal penalties and action. Publish at your own risk.