5 Kinds of Image Copyrights That You Need To Know About

The internet is a scary place, full of puzzles and shadowy individuals.

The internet is full of images. It has been, ever since one scientist realized he could use it to send scant pictures of Lieutenant Uhura to another scientist.

Images come in various flavors of Copyright protection. As a Graphic Designer, I learned about these in school. Before you use an image, know how it’s protected, because that will determine if you can legally use.

Public Domain

Everybody’s favorite. There is no copyright on this. It belongs to the public, which means you. No one owns it, no one ever will. Never requires attribution, this is the most flexible kind of image by far.

You can download this image, put it on your site, let other people download it, print it out, invert it, stamp it on a T-shirt then sell it.

Cats Eyes Closeup

Public Domain cat.



An image may have no copyrights but still belong to someone. In that case, it is required that you provide appropriate attribution in most cases. You need to say who took the image. You can’t say you took the image, nor does it belong to you. You may need to pay for this image.


Ah, Royalty-Free. Quick to fool to the easily deceived by the word “free” in its name, these images are anything but free, usually costing a good amount of money.

Images like these tend to be well protected by copyrights. When you purchase a royalty-free image, you generally purchase a license to use it a limited number of times or in a limited number of ways. For example, you may purchase an image that you can use on 5 Websites only, not in print, without paying royalties.

These images are important because paying royalties is complicated stuff. Unless you are an agency with a publishing staff, you will find it difficult keeping up. For most people, premium, royalty-free images can provide more than enough.

Single red gift box with silver ribbon on white background. - stock photo

As you can see, Shutterstock is quick to protect its intellectual property with potent Watermarks. In order to use this image legally, you will need to purchase it.



This kind of image is protected by all the above protection, plus you have to pay royalties. Royalties are a percentage of any money you make while using an image. For example, if you make a poster for a movie and prominently use one picture as the background, its artist may ask for a 10% royalty.

These images are covetously guarded, but other than the royalty, they are similar to royalty-free images.


Never use an image if you do not have the rights to use it! It is dishonest. When in doubt, grab some public domain clipart – you can’t go wrong.

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More Free Birthday Clip Art

Wow! More birthday clipart!

Birthday birthday-boy1

What a happy birthday it will be!

Birthday bday cupcake2

Birthday happy birthday cake toddler

Isn’t this a nice image?

Birthday birthday balloons

Birthday birthday cat

You’re not Garfield but you’ll have to do, little public domain friend.

Birthday birthday happybirthday

Birthday mom-dad-with-cake

This birthday clipart is sure to delight the birthday boy or girl!

Birthday party-kitty

This is a cool CD of Clip art you can check out:


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Free Adoption Clipart

Use this free adoption clipart to help create your adoption profile, celebrate the big day, or use it as an image to add to your fundraiser to help get the message across to your supporters.
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Free Project Clipart

Running a successful project requires a lot of planning and communication on behalf of an individual.   In the professional world this individual is referred to as a project manager and, a lot of times, holds a certification.  The project manager’s sole job is to complete a project while keeping the planned cost, time and scope within their boundaries.  How do they do this? Continue reading

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Free Healthy Fruit Clipart

Why is fruit so healthy?  For starters, it was made by nature.  It has got the perfect blend of fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals to give your body just what it needs.   Fruit, in its natural state, is beautiful and just the right serving size to give you a feeling of fullness but not overfill you. Continue reading

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Free Sun Clipart

Sunshine is food for the soul.  It brightens up moods, conjurs up memories of coastal vacations, and helps the body produce needed vitamin D. 

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Free Christmas Clipart

At the end of this short article there are some Christmas clipart images that you can use for your Christmas crafts. You will find a homemade snowman, a holly image, and a candy cane. If you are creative these images can be included in greeting cards, address labels, gift tags, photo borders, party invitations, and even Christmas themed websites. Continue reading

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Free Animal Clipart

Animals are fascinating creatures.  If we could just talk with them we would learn so many things.  One of the things that make animals so amazing is their ability to do things that seem superhuman to us.   Animals have highly tuned senses because their survival depends on it.  Some of the senses humans have and some they don’t. 

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Free Happy Birthday Clipart

Are you gearing up to celebrate a birthday party for your mother, father, brother or child’s birthday? Planning the birthday party can be stressful but with a little bit of forethought you can pull it off without a hitch. Here is a checklist to help you plan your party with some clipart that follows for your invitations. Continue reading

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Tips for Using Animated Clipart

Are you considering using animated clipart? If you are it is best to plan carefully. If used, your animation should remain minimal for maximum effectiveness. A little bit here and there can enhance your message while overuse, or the wrong use, could work against you. Continue reading

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