Do you know how to check copyright images? Ensuring the legality of image usage is essential in the digital age.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the process of checking the copyright status of images and provide you with tools and tips to confirm picture copyright, helping you to use digital content responsibly and legally.

Blog Middle Component Image

Protect Your Brand & Recover Revenue With Bytescare Brand Protection

How to Find if an Image is Copyrighted?

Determining if a photo is copyrighted can sometimes be challenging. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can find if a picture is copyrighted:

Source Check

The first place to check is the website or platform where you found the picture.

Check for any copyright notices, terms of use, or licensing information attached to the picture.

Metadata Check

You can inspect the metadata of the picture file for copyright information.

This can include details like the creator, copyright holder, and any licensing terms.

There are various tools online that can help you view an image’s metadata.

Google Reverse Image Search

This tool allows you to upload a picture or provide a picture URL to find its online occurrences.

If the picture appears on a website that credits an author or copyright holder, it’s likely copyrighted.

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons provides a search platform that aggregates results from various public repositories of CC-licensed content.

Official Databases

In some countries, copyright holders may register their work with a national copyright office. Searching these databases can provide definitive proof of copyright.

How to Check Copyright Images? Benefits

Using an online picture copyright checker offers several benefits, especially in the age of digital media, where photos are readily available, and copyright infringement can occur unintentionally.

Here are a few key advantages:

Legal Safety

Using copyrighted photos without the necessary permissions can lead to legal repercussions.

A picture copyright checker can help you avoid this by confirming whether an image is copyrighted before you use it.

Authentic Content Creation

By ensuring you’re using photos legally, you maintain the authenticity of your content.

Using original or legally obtained imagery enhances your professional reputation and respects the work of other creators.

Efficient Search

Online copyright checkers can quickly scan numerous databases and websites to find the origin of a picture.

Comprehensive Results

These tools don’t just indicate if a picture is copyrighted;

They often provide additional useful information, such as the image’s creator, the copyright holder, and any licensing terms.

Easy Access

Most picture copyright checkers are free and easy to use.

This accessibility makes it possible for anyone to check picture copyright status with just a few clicks.

Blog Middle Component Image

Protect Your Brand & Recover Revenue With Bytescare Brand Protection

Can You Use Copyrighted Images?

Yes, you can use copyrighted pictures, but not without restrictions. Here are some ways you can legally use copyrighted photos:

Obtain Permission or License

This is the most straightforward method. Generally, one should pay for the license to use it for the content.

Use Under Fair Use

In certain circumstances, you can use copyrighted pictures under the “fair use” doctrine.

This includes using the for purposes like criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

Use Creative Commons Licensed Photos

Content creators can use the pictures for free in all platforms for obtaining the permission from the owners.

You can also use the creative common license to use the picture for certain purposes.

Always make sure you understand the specific license’s terms.

Use Images in the Public Domain

If your images are in the public domain, the content creators can use them without any permission.

Photos under public domain don’t require any permission from the creators.

How to Use Copyrighted Images without Violation?

Using copyrighted pictures without violation requires adhering to certain guidelines.

Obtain a License or Permission

Reach out to the copyright owner to get permission or a license to use the picture.

If granted, make sure to follow any conditions stipulated by the owner, such as usage restrictions or attribution requirements.

Use Under Fair Use

“Fair use” allows you to use copyrighted pictures without permission for specific purposes like criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

However, fair use is complex and subjective, so if you’re considering this route, it may be wise to consult a legal expert.

Creative Commons License

Creative common license often includes attributing the work to the creator and not using the picture for commercial purposes unless allowed.

Public Domain 

Images that are in the public domain aren’t protected by copyright and can be used without any restrictions.

Purchase or Subscribe to Stock Images

Websites like Shutterstock, Getty , or Adobe Stock provide high-quality, licensed images for a fee.

You can usually use these pictures without worry, provided you follow the terms of the purchased license.

What are Google Non Copyright Images?

Google non-copyright images refer to images that are free to use, share, or modify, either because they are in the public domain or under licenses that allow for such use, like Creative Commons licenses.

This means that the images you find may still be subject to copyright restrictions.

Go to Google Images and click on the “Settings” button (the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the page).
Select “Advanced search.”
Scroll down to the “usage rights” field.
Choose the option that suits your needs, such as “free to use or share,” “free to use” or share, even commercially”, “free to use”, share, or modify,” or “free to use, share or modify, even commercially.”

Remember, even though Google’s advanced search can filter images by usage rights, it’s always a good idea to verify the license of each picture  and comply with its terms.

As the license could have changed or Google’s algorithms might have made errors. And always credit the original creator when required by the license.

Blog Middle Component Image

Protect Your Brand & Recover Revenue With Bytescare Brand Protection


In conclusion, checking the copyright status of images is a crucial practice that helps to respect the rights of picture creators and avoid potential legal complications.

Several methods are available to ascertain copyright status, including reverse image searches, checking metadata, and using dedicated platforms like the Creative Commons search and stock databases.

Nevertheless, when the copyright status remains uncertain, it’s always wise to ask for explicit permission from the picture owner or opt for royalty-free, Creative Commons, or Public Domain images.

The Most Widely Used Brand Protection Solution

Find, track and remove counterfeit listings and sellers with Bytescare Brand Protection software

Blog Middle Component Image Company Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if a photo is copyrighted?

There isn’t a surefire way to tell if a picture is copyrighted by just looking at it.

Often, the source will indicate whether the photo is copyrighted or not.
You can also look for watermarks, copyright symbols, or notices that suggest copyright. When in doubt, assume the picture is copyrighted.

Can I use a copyrighted image if I give credit?

Giving credit doesn’t automatically grant you rights to use a copyrighted photo.

However, some creators do allow usage of their work with proper attribution under certain licenses, such as Creative Commons licenses.

Where can I find copyright-free images?

There are several online platforms that offer copyright-free or Creative Commons-licensed images, such as Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, and Wikimedia Commons.

Note that even with copyright-free images, there may still be restrictions like required attribution or prohibitions on commercial use.

What are the penalties for using copyrighted images without permission?

The penalties can be severe, ranging from monetary fines to potential jail time, depending on the jurisdiction and the extent of the infringement.

How to check copyright images?

To use a copyrighted picture, you need to contact the copyright holder directly – this is usually the photographer or the agency that represents them.

You should clearly state how and where you intend to use the picture, and they may grant you a license for use, potentially in exchange for a fee.

Remember to get the agreement in writing to avoid misunderstandings in the future.