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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Using "free" images rss

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Daniel Johansson
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Hi!

I have a question about using images from the web in my productions. Theoretically, it should be possible to just search for images (google) using the “may use and edit” in the optional “user rights” drop down menu. Sorry if the phrasing is not exact, I’m translating from Swedish.

However, if I do an image search for “Cthulhu” using the “may use and edit” and compare that to when I change the user rights to “may use and edit but not for commercial use” I get pretty much the exact same images. This does not make sense right?

My question is:

## Can you really use images from the web legally claiming that you searched for “may use and edit” (including commercial use)?

Anyone else using free images in your productions? How do you perform your searches to make sure the image is really free?

Big Thanks
 
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Seth Pinter
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"I did a google search" is not a legal defense I've heard of before, but you could always try it. I have no clue how it'll work out for you.

Or, you could just check the licensing once you find an image of interest, as searches aren't 100% accurate and the page the image is on should provide the information or at least point you in the right direction for who to contact. Generally I assume that if no information is provided that it is copyrighted, but a letter to the copyright holder may be all that is needed to use it for free. If it was intended as free to reuse the information is probably on the page the image is hosted in.
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Colm McCarthy
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nordlead wrote:
"I did a google search" is not a legal defense I've heard of before, but you could always try it. I have no clue how it'll work out for you.

Or, you could just check the licensing once you find an image of interest, as searches aren't 100% accurate and the page the image is on should provide the information or at least point you in the right direction for who to contact. Generally I assume that if no information is provided that it is copyrighted, but a letter to the copyright holder may be all that is needed to use it for free. If it was intended as free to reuse the information is probably on the page the image is hosted in.


This.
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Liam
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Almost certainly Google and other search engines in their 1026 pages of terms will have a section completely covering themselves and passing all legal responsibility and liability on to the user.
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Matt D
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dabuel wrote:

## Can you really use images from the web legally claiming that you searched for “may use and edit” (including commercial use)?

Anyone else using free images in your productions? How do you perform your searches to make sure the image is really free?


I would not consider anything given from a search engine to be the same as explicit permission from the author. It may be that it was tagged properly, or not tagged properly. Or the search results can be wrong.

I would use the search filters to locate images that may be eligible for you to freely use, but then reach out to the owner to confirm.

The search filter is useful for potentially lowering the amount of images that you need to look through by eliminating some that are not free, but that's about all I'd use that feature for.
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Jeremy Lennert
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dabuel wrote:
However, if I do an image search for “Cthulhu” using the “may use and edit” and compare that to when I change the user rights to “may use and edit but not for commercial use” I get pretty much the exact same images. This does not make sense right?

That's not necessarily surprising. My guess is that that second category is intended to include everything from the first category (if you can use and edit the image generally, then you can also use and edit the image when your project happens to be noncommercial), plus any additional images that have been tagged to say they allow use and editing except for commercial uses.

So if not very many people decide to make their image free but only for noncommercial use, then you'd expect the search results between the two categories to be very similar. That doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong.

That said, as others have pointed out, you should confirm the usage terms of each individual image that you decide to use. The search filter should help you find appropriate images faster, but do not assume that it's 100% accurate.
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Andrew J.
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You could check out makerbook.net, as they've done a lot of the legwork in compiling and assembling design resources that are free for commercial use.
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Santiago
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The search adding that filter does not ensure the images are going to be fully free. I have checked that with several examples. What is more: I'd recommend not triggering that, as funnily, it might lead to leave out actual interesting images on the public domain, that somehow do not get considered. As an illustrator, I often search images for references, and is very rarely when I need any thing different to draw something about which I have not enough data/memories (ie, some historical item, etc, like, you need to know how a XVth century bow was made). But have been forced to search for a lot while working in companies, for other reasons.(often due to companies not having enough workers to produce all images needed, for example.)

IMHO, your only choice is the images being public domain, and in all countries (some are not to be considered so outside the US, or viceversa)

That is, a proper license note there, and establishing it clearly. Nothing is best, though, imo, than written permission from the author, ideally, in a signed contract. (be it for working with an artist (custom work), or just writing him to get a permission/purchase, an art license, giving you some rights over the image.)

In the land of free, I would only trust in full public domain content, stated as that. Anything not specifying the type of license or rights, IMO is not safe, at all. There are indeed very tricky cases. You can even find notes like "By several sources, it is supposed to be on public domain, but please, let me know if you..." I'd run from these ones. Or depots just putting a lot of images in a "free" section without any notice about copyrights, public domain or Creative Commons license.

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patrick mullen
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Washington
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These days, be careful even of images that are specifically tagged with a license that looks like it can be used. It may be an original work of a licensed IP that you actually shouldn't be using, or it may even be an image that someone stole from somewhere else and added the license illegally.
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