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Author Topic: List of Public Domain stock footage companies  (Read 15469 times)

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« on: August 05, 2011, 11:19:36 PM »
I have begun to put together a list of sites that at least CLAIM their imagery is free and in the public domain. I welcome any additional notes or clarification. A lot of these companies make the images available under a Creative Commons License. I have done some cursory research and it seems to me that these are legitimate free PD images. If anyone has information to the contrary, I would welcome it. Also, if anyone has additional sites to share, please let me know.

http://www.morguefile.com/


http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

http://www.turbophoto.com/Free-Stock-Images/

http://www.freerangestock.com  (Look carefully, the first 3 images are for sale, the rest are free)

http://www.imageafter.com A lot of textures and elements for artists and animators

http://www.freepixels.com  Nice photos small selection

It is worth mentioning that my understanding is that anything produced by the U.S. federal government is in the public domain.

http://photolib.noaa.gov - one example of the many photos you can use for free from U.S. Government sites.

http://public-domain-photos.com - claims to be the largest collection of public domain photos (my notes say images are so-so)

A couple of less-useful sites:

I almost suggested http://www.stockvault.net, but their EULA is only for non-commercial sites.
And http://www.freefoto.com requires you to leave their logo in

And finally, when all else fails and you really cannot hire a photographer or license an image directly from a photographer on Flickr.com, you may need to purchase an image from a stock photo company. If, like me, you'd like to avoid doing business with a company that sues it's customers, then you should know that Getty Images also owns iStockPhoto and JupiterImages, two of the larger stock photo companies. They also own Tony Stone Images, Art.com, Allsport, the Hulton Picture Library (or Hulton Getty) and the Keystone Collection.

So what is left? I phoned http://Pond5.com and after speaking to a number of people there, I feel pretty confident that they are independent of any GI and the other larger stock image companies. I also have not read much on this board about http://www.corbisimages.com (owned by Bill Gates) threatening legal action. In fact the one page I looked at read more like an initial inquiry and a take-down notice.

Again, I welcome additions or corrections to this list. I would also suggest that if you DO use images from these sites, you document when and where the image came from. It is a pain in the butt, but it might help you if you down the road.
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

Oscar Michelen

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2011, 01:09:22 PM »
Mcfilms thanks for the effort you put into the list. As for Corbis, they have indeed jumped well onto the bandwagon and use PicScout and NCS Recovery on their claims. I handled one lawsuit involving Corbis so on occasion if there are lots of images involve, they will go to court apparently. 

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2011, 05:04:22 PM »
That is good to know Oscar. Thank you. The one example letter I saw from Corbis sounded like more of a takedown request and didn't immediately demand a large sum of money. But it was from several years ago.

From what you are saying, it looks like they are using a more aggressive approach these days.
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

Oscar Michelen

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2011, 05:39:01 PM »
They are indeed, we are getting more iniquiries about their claims all the time

BadLuck

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 02:44:59 AM »
Sorry to bring up an old post, but a running list that is stickyed might be a good idea. That way, we as a community can keep a running tab on these free stock image companies. It's a scary thought to think that one of these free companies can one day flip the switch on their "cause" or get bought by one of the stock photo giants. It might just be my paranoia, but it could happen.

Another company that might be okay is:
http://photoxpress.com - You get 10 free downloads per day through their free photo collection. Has anyone dealt with them. I've been using them and now am very wary of any photo site.

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 03:23:18 AM »
I thought so too. That's why I compiled the list. Whether people use it or not, it would be a way to put a message out there saying, "We will no longer do business with companies that sue their customers and potential customers. There are alternatives available and here are some."

But I guess that idea never gained traction.
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 07:48:56 AM »
I'll second the motion to sticky this post!

Another site worth looking at is http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

They offer 2 options for royalty free licenses . "This licence comes in two flavors: "Free" and "Purchased". The only difference between them is that if you use a free image you must publish the name of the image creator adjacent to where the image is used.  Purchased images do not have this requirement.

The purchase price seems to be much lower than the other stock companies, but the choices are also limitied.

I no longer use any stock image companies, I now create my own images or insist that my clients supply them, knowing the risks involved.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
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BadLuck

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 10:36:26 AM »
http://Clker.com - For royalty free clipart. WARNING: They claim no warranty to you and content is provided "AS-IS" - Caution when using.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 11:34:22 AM by BadLuck »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2011, 10:42:53 AM »
I would be very weary of this...

BECAUSE CLKER.COM AND ITS CONTENTS ARE FREE OF CHARGE, WE PROVIDE ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE STATE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING, CLKER.COM AND ITS OWNERS PROVIDE THE CONTENT AND IMAGES 'AS IS' WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE CONTENT IS WITH YOU. SHOULD ANY PART OF CLKER.COM OR ITS CONTENT PROVE DEFECTIVE, OR NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR, CORRECTION AND OTHER COSTS THAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO YOU OR YOUR PRODUCT OR CLIENTS OR CUSTOMERS FROM USING CONTENT OR IMAGES FROM CLKER.COM OR ANY DERIVATIVES OF YOUR WORK THAT INCLUDED OR WAS DERIVED FROM OUR CONTENT.

IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW WILL CLKER.COM, IT'S OWNERS, BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY LOST PROFITS, LOST MONIES, OR OTHER SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO LOSS OF DATA OR DATA BEING RENDERED INACCURATE OR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY THIRD PARTIES OR A FAILURE OF THE PICTURES/IMAGES/SOFTWARE TO OPERATE WITH ANY PROGRAMS) THE SITE OR ITS CONTENTS, EVEN IF YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, OR FOR ANY CLAIM BY ANY OTHER PARTY.

also bear in mind "Royalty Free" does not mean FREE, only that you pay once and don't have to pay a royalty every time you use the image.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
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Matthew Chan

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2011, 07:43:11 PM »
I understand there are good intentions in trying to find good public domain photo sites. The problem here is how can anyone know for certain?  How do we know that copyrighted photos don't accidentally slip into the system through an upload?

The only photos I can "reasonably" trust that are public domain are those that come from clearly marked U.S. government websites like those from NASA, White House, and other well-established governmental agency.

I am NOT going to put a sticky on this post simply because there is an implied endorsement by this website or its moderators.  I have no problems with this thread.  But to me, it is definitely "BUYER BEWARE" regarding photos.

As a fellow web presence developer and extortion letter recipient, Buddhapi and I definitely are on the same page regarding using our own photos or creating our own graphics. I do have some public domain photos I would use because I personally downloaded them from U.S. government sites and verified them as "safe" for my use. But that is definitely an exception and not the rule of how I operate.

I have found creativity can go a long way in finding substitutes for using someone else's photos.

Matthew
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2011, 08:55:23 PM »
Well it's your site and your rules. And I understand the importance of "Buyer Beware." I mean there is nothing to stop an agency inside NASA from producing a page and then opting to buy stock footage of a telescope to illustrate a point. THAT image does not become public domain. So it is up to developers to do some legwork and document how images were acquired.

There is also a possibility that a "Free Public Domain" web site might host an image that one of the stock agencies claim a right to. But I also believe that if you have documented the source of this image and point the stock company to the source and make it clear that you only use cleared images, I believe they will back off. But then I am not a lawyer and I have been wrong about corporate greed time and time again, so what the hell do i know.

Clearly the best advice is to source your own images, either shooting them yourself or hiring a photographer (be sure to get all the rights you need.) However I think that providing developers with the tools they need to NOT use stock images from companies that choose to sue (or threaten to sue) their clients and potential clients would act as a big middle finger to the whole stock image industry. I think a side bar on the home page that explains these options and links to resources would be appreciated by visitors.

My issue with GI has been cleared up favorably, but I still frequent your site and kicked in a little cash. Why? I won't be happy until the major stock agencies make an announcement that they will issue a take-down notice prior to threatening any further action. This may be a pie-in-the-sky goal, but I can see a path to it happening. It starts with education on both sides. More developers need to know that Google Images does not equal Public Domain. But the stock image companies need to know that threatening to sue us and our customers will not stand. There are a finite number of web developers in the world and as the stock companies continue to sting them, more and more will be looking for a way to stop doing business with copyright trolls.

So I sure would like to see a "STOP DOING BUSINESS WITH COPYRIGHT TROLLS" sidebar and information and links on how best to do that. Using these "Free Stock Footage" websites may be third or fifth on the list with some big caveats that there is STILL no guarantee that a stock agency might claim ownership of an image on these sites. But at least the option is there. Equally important would be "Finding a photographer" and "Templates for getting copyright clearance from your freelance photographer" and "How to shoot your own stock images on your iPhone" and "Top 10 tips to create stock-image-quality stills"

But it's your site and your rules, so I'm good either way. It's just a suggestion.
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

Matthew Chan

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2011, 09:20:51 PM »
I appreciate your ongoing support. It is clear by your ongoing posts and feedback. So please do not take offense if we do not agree 100%.  We are still on the same side.  If it means anything, Oscar and I have minor disagreements on some finer points but a lot of it has to do with the fact we view things a bit differently because of differences in our profession, education, and life experiences. Fortunately, the core team has many more agreements than disagreements.

None of us will agree absolutely 100% but I am still willing to stay open to suggestions and ideas. Hence, this post can easily stay alive and at the top as long as someone continues to post an update.  WE all spearhead different aspects of this fight.  I may have this website but I promise you, it would carry very little weight if you and everyone upped and left tomorrow.  Buddhapi isn't working with me and Oscar because he is bored and has nothing to do.  He has graciously offered his time as an official forum spokesman and moderator because he is a believer and an advocate.

I am not able to divulge specifically the planned changes in 2012 but suffice it to say there will soon be full disclosure and opportunity for those people who want to shine the spotlight on aspects they think as important as you have. Thus far, this forum has been the primary instrument but there will be another option.

Regarding your "pie-in-the-sky" goal, the core team shares it.  Nothing would make me happier than to say ELI has come the end of its relevance and life because the stock photo extortion letters were put out of business. In fact, I am hoping that someone creates something so dramatic that shocks the crap out of the stock photo industry much like the convulsions legacy book publishers are facing today.  I would like to buy photos but I cannot knowingly financially feed into the very companies that are pumping out these extortion letters.

Anyhow, your suggestion is one that is worth keeping alive.  Let's see where this goes.  It is possible I am too cynical and I just need more time to let it sink in.

Matthew
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2011, 04:13:58 PM »
Oh here is another one to add to the list:

The Library of Congress:
http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/

Every image in there online catalog tells you if there are "No known restrictions on publication" or if there may be an issue. Most of the photos and artwork are from mid-twentieth century and earlier. But if you are looking for wonderful retro imagery it is a great resource.

Thanks to buddhapi who pointed out this resource as well as the fact that GI has taken these images in the Public Domain and then put them up for sale on their site.

Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, 07:56:12 PM »
Bump
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

Peeved

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Re: List of Public Domain stock footage companies
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2011, 03:38:23 PM »
Really appreciate the list of suggested sites for free photos. Personally, I share my feelings with Matt regarding not trusting anything but my own creations and government sites.

I checked out the site:
http://public-domain-photos.com

The first thing that really BOTHERS me is this statement on the front page:
5000 Free Stock Photos
All photos on this web site are public domain. You may use these images for any purpose, including commercial. But if some photo contains logos and products you need to be careful. Using someone else's trademark commercially can get you sued.

HUH? "Feel free to use them but be CAREFUL if they contain logos and products"???

The SECOND thing that really BOTHERS me is the big ADVERTISEMENT for GETTY IMAGES on the front page!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 03:53:21 PM by Peeved »

 

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