All these images are open source.

If I have a bunch of large images, and the readme file says only, All these images are open source, is it OK to use the images on commercial projects? That is all the information I have on them. Thanks.
mel200Asked:
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Sam SawalhiIT ConsultantCommented:
I hope this helps!

Copyright and licensing

Before you upload an image, make sure that the image falls in one of the four categories:

1-Own work: You own all rights to the image, usually meaning that you created it entirely yourself. (example, see below for details)
2-Freely licensed: You can prove that the copyright holder has released the image under an acceptable free license. Note that images that are licensed for use only on Wikipedia, or only for non-commercial or educational use, or under a license that doesn't allow for the creation of modified/derived works, are unsuitable. (example, see below for details)
3-Public domain: You can prove that the image is in the public domain, i.e. free of all copyrights. (example, see below for details)
4-Fair use: You believe that the image meets the special conditions for non-free content, which exceptionally allow the use of unlicensed material, and you can provide an explicit non-free use rationale explaining why and how you intend to use it. (example, see below for details)


Thank you,
Sam
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David BruggeCommented:
There is not a lot of information to go on here. There is always a danger in using an image in commercial work that you did not create and thus know the true legacy of.  Someone can always claim ownership and thus claim damages for an image that you use.

Not knowing the source of these images, you are going on faith that the images in question are indeed open source and that the statement is true and correct. IMHO, the question then becomes one of just how much are you willing to expose yourself to someone coming forward with a legitimate claim. One thing that the claimant must prove, is not only that they own the rights to the image, but that they were injured by its use.

This injury is usually in the way of lost revenue that they would have received, had the image been properly licensed. In reality, this means that an image that is used in a flyer for the local bakery will likely (but not always) not net the image owner enough money to make it worth the effort to collect. On the other hand, if this is for an multinational ad for a global corporation, you stand to loose some serious coin.

When commercial work is involved, it is always a good idea to have the fallback of of a legitimate contract for the rights usage, but it is now always necessary. Without a usage contract however, there is a risk. You just have to decide if it is a risk worth taking.

Bottom line, just because a collection of images on the internet says that they are in the public domain does not necessarily get you off the hook.
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David BruggeCommented:
For the "example below" that Sam was referring to in the above post, see this.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Tin-Eye http://www.tineye.com/ can help you check to see if the images are used elsewhere and maybe copyrighted.
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mel200Author Commented:
Thanks, experts! The websites I would use these on would exclusively be for small famliy-owened funeral homes in the US.

But I am Canadian, and I think in Canada, you would get a warning to take the image down, and if you didn't then the law would come in. I'm not sure if in the US, there would be something similar, or if the person who owned the image could bring a law suit.

I think from what you're all saying, I'll just throw the images away and not take a chance, but I want to look at tin-eye.

Wonderful answers!
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mel200Author Commented:
Amazing!! Tineye saysof the first one, "This image is available for commercial use".

What a great resource!
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mel200Author Commented:
Dave, I want to meet you someday and buy you a few beers. You've answered so many of my questions here with easy-to-understand and complete answers. You're a star.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Why thank you mel200, I'll get in touch if I go to Canada!
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