Is It Legal to Use Free Clipart for Commercial Uses?


Quick Answer

The legality of using images for commercial uses depends on two factors: the copyright of the image and the use given to the image. While images in the public domain are free to use, the use of copyrighted images is restricted, according to the United States Copyright Office.

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Full Answer

Public domain works can be used without obtaining permission, as stated by the Stanford Copyright and Fair Use website.

Copyrighted works can be used for commercial purposes if the copyright owner grants permission to the user. If the use given falls into the category of "fair use," permission is not needed. The doctrine of fair use contains a list of various uses for which permission from the copyright holder is not required, such as criticism, comment and teaching, as claimed by the United States Copyright Office.

Creative Commons copyright licenses that do not explicitly forbid the commercial use of the work allow others to use an image without permission, even for commercial uses, according to Creative Commons.

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