If you follow this search method, theoretically you should be led to free images for personal and commercial use.
1) Type in your search and hit enter
2) Click on the gear icon and choose advanced search
3) Scroll down to the bottom and find 'usage rights', click on the drop down arrow and choose 'free to use or share even commercially'
4) click on the Advanced Search box.
In theory this should filter all the images, returning a search of only free to use images. Although, it is still possible that some of these images could be copyrighted with the copyright data removed and uploaded as free to use by someone other than the owner.
As you can see finding an image on the web can be risky business. There is even the possibility you could purchase an illegal image from a reputable paid image service. And the worst part of all of this is that the end user (web site owner) would be held liable for using the unlawful image and not the supplier of the image.
Now, I've done many hours of research on this subject and have done dozens of web searches to find some clear way of knowing if an image is copyrighted or not. What I found was a bunch of vague statements claiming it only takes a minute to find this info, yet not one single person will say how to actually find the info. Many will say tineye.com
is the place to go to find such info. All this site does is give you a list of everywhere on the web the image can be found, but I don't know how this answers the copyright question.
Then there are the sites that sell images, but do they know everything
about the images uploaded to their site? I read the Terms of Service on
one site and part of their terms was that if you found an image on their
site that you owned but did not give them permission to use, you should
contact them.Hopefully Free to Use
OK, so after much too much research I've come up with two possible sites that are supposed to distribute free images. The first is morguefile.com.
I'm not totally convinced about this one, read the FAQ first before you decide as there are a lot of stipulations that go along with 'free image' claim. This second site seems to be a bit more trustworthy as to the 'free to use image' claim and that is publicdomainpictures.net.
If anyone knows of a definitive way to find copyright information on images, please contact
me.Originally published 2-1-16