If you are looking around in Google or other photo databases you have probably come across something called usage rights.
If you don’t understand what ‘not filtered by license’ means, you definitely aren’t alone. Many people have a problem understanding what licenses and usage rights mean when it comes to photos.
Simply put, usage rights are the rights that people have to reuse images or other intellectual property for their own or business purposes.
What do the Usage Rights filters mean?
Not filtered by license: This means that you haven’t yet selected a type of filter to organize the photos by. In other words, with “not filtered by license” selected you are looking at all types of photos with all types of usage rights. This is how a lot of people get in trouble because they grab any photo they see, post it to their website, and then are hit with a Getty Images lawsuit for the unauthorized use of an image. In order to find a photo that you can use, make sure to select something other than the “not filtered by license” option.
Labeled for reuse with modification: This option means that you can use the photo commercially, or non-commercially, as long as you modify it. In terms of what “modify” mean, I wasn’t able to find an answer in my research, so there is still a “gray” area there.
Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification: This means that you can use the photo in a non-commercial manner, as long as you modify it. By non-commercial, it means you cannot have the photo on products or be a part of a business website/printed materials.
Labeled for noncommercial reuse: Finally, this option means that you can use the photo in a non-commercial manner as-is. No modification is necessary. Remember in all cases that you should always give authors attribution when using their photos. Even if a photo doesn’t have a great amount of detail around the usage rights, authors of the photos should always be given credit for their work.
If you want to to find website images, such as those that you would use on your homepage or the main pages of your website and just purchase them, then I would use Shutterstock.