I am constantly searching for new and unique public domain images to gather and present here on Gaderinge. In this search, I keep finding websites that claim to offer public domain images, but in fact are applying restrictions to the images, thereby making the photos NOT public domain by the very nature of the PD purpose, because public domain images have no restrictions.
You see, the public domain distinction and definition means “without restriction” other than the obvious is that you cannot claim ownership or copyright. If you want to offer your photos as public domain, you cannot state that there is a limit to the number of photos you download, you cannot state that they cannot be redistributed, etc.
Anyone offering “public domain photos” with such restrictions has not done their research!
When are Public Domain images not public domain?
Photos are not public domain when a website demands a link back in exchange for downloading their photo, or if they state that if your website happens to be similar (competitive) to their website, you may not place the photos on your site. Those uninformed folks should be using a very handy Creative Commons License that offers many options on use restrictions.
A blog post I found listed some very nice sites (Gaderinge wasn’t born yet to be included) purportedly offering public domain images. I did an experiment to see if those websites with erroneous public domain status distinction understand the difference between a public domain images with no restrictions and creative commons with restriction.
Wiki CC0 states: “…Can anyone use a work that is distributed under CC0?
Yes. CC0 doesn’t restrict who can use a CC0’d work. Once applied, anyone can use the work in any way and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, subject to rights others may have in the work or how it’s used, as well as subject to any other laws or restrictions that may apply.”
My verdict is those offering their work in the public domain are arware of the difference and don’t care. Those sites placing restrictions on their CC0 – Public Domain images should be listing them as a CC with the applicable restriction but the keywords Public Domain are more popular than Creative Commons.
Among other websites, Pixaby has a limit of the number of photos you can use; Splitshire, Gratisography, state No third-party stock websites. Public Domain Pictures . net “requires” a link back.
So be careful as you look for “unrestricted” public domain images, or just follow Gaderinge on Facebook, join our mailing list in the footer, and we’ll do the hard work for you in finding the best PD images! Below is my own photo that I’ve placed in the public domain. To be clear, you may: download it, adapt it, put it on your own stock photos site (That doesn’t scar me), use it as an example in your own blog post about public domain images. Whatever you want… except claiming that you took the photo!