Copywrited photos

Good evening everyone,
I am new in working as a graphic designer for a company and I am really confused and concerned about the copywrites of the files we find on the internet.

I found this png. file on at least 5 different websites, all of them stating that the image is free to use. Still, I am concerned and don’t know what to do.

It is for commercial use.
Also, do you think that someone can easily get in trouble with the copywrites?

Thanks for any help

First, copywriters are people who write the text that appears in ads, brochures, manuals and that sort of thing. You’re referring to copyright, which is the legal ownership of the rights to publish, perform, record, reproduce various kinds of materials.

Most everything you find on the internet is copyrighted. Here in the U.S., the creator automatically owns the copyright. The owner of a copyright can choose to sell the copyright, give others the permission to use the copyrighted materials provided certain conditions are met, or the owners can renounce their copyright and allow it to fall in the public domain. After many decades, all copyrighted work automatically falls into the public domain.

Lots of things found on the internet claiming to have no copyright are really pirated works that really are copyrighted and owned by someone. Generally, however, if you download something from a reputable website that claims there’s no copyright and if you find the same thing on other websites that also claim there’s no copyright, you’re probably, more or less, safe to use it. Even in those instances where the work turns out to be copyrighted, it’s the website owners that made them freely available that are at risk. Even so, the copyright owner might still contact you and insist that the photo or illustration or whatever be removed from your website. If that copyrighted material is in a printed book, they might even demand proceeds from the book’s sales as compensation.

The whole thing risks turning into a legal mess with lawyers and judges and nobody winning except the lawyers. It’s better to just be safe and not use those things that seem questionable unless it’s just for your own personal, noncommercial use.

Thank you very much for your reply. You were very helpful.

One more thing. If I place this image in Illustrator and just design and copy on top of the lines, will it be considered a copyright violation?
electronic dark blue2

If that is copyrighted and if you trace it, yes, that would still be violating the copyright.

Does it need to look just like it does, though? Can’t you just use it and other similar circuit board patterns as inspiration for drawing your own art? It doesn’t look very complicated if this is all you need.

1 Like

That depends on the image license. You’ll have to read that. Or ask from where you obtained it.

And if you do alter it, it does not mean you own the copyright on the image. The image always belongs to the creator.

Think of it like borrowing a coat. Your friend wouldnt be pleased to see you have sewn on patches, nor that you claim its your coat now!

This is what I will do. Thanks a lot

I understand. Thank you for your help

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