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Can I legally use and sell a copyright-free photo as my own without obtaining permission or giving credit to the original owner?

In the US, copyright law allows personal use of a copyrighted photo without permission, but exhibiting or selling it requires the original artist's consent.

To sell or exhibit a copyrighted work, you must obtain permission from the original artist to avoid violating intellectual property rights.

If a photograph may contain part of a copyrighted work, it is advisable to seek written permission before photographing it to avoid legal issues.

To copyright a photograph in the US, the photographer must own the original work, which means they took the photo as part of a work-for-hire agreement or collaborative work.

Copyright protection is automatic and immediate upon the creation of an original work, and it exists from the moment an original work is "fixed" in a tangible medium.

For photographers, fixation occurs when they take a picture, making the photograph eligible for copyright protection.

Copyright registration with the US Copyright Office grants exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the work.

Copyright ownership allows the photographer to make, sell, or distribute copies, adapt the work, and publicly display the photograph.

Fair use, a limitation on copyright, permits the use of copyrighted materials without permission under specific circumstances.

Fair use applies to any type of copyrighted work, including musical works, audiovisual works, and software.

To determine if fair use applies to a situation, consider factors such as the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Canva's Content License Agreement allows users to design and sell products using both Free and Pro Content, but restrictions apply to using Free or Pro Content to design and sell the user's own products.

To find images that can be used legally and for free, search for Creative Commons-licensed images and filter by usage rights on Google Images.

Watermarking images provides extra protection against image theft and unauthorized use.

First-use rights allow the purchaser or licensee to use a copyrighted work exclusively for an agreed-upon length of time.

In the US, photographers have the right to prevent image theft and unauthorized use of their work by registering their copyrights with the US Copyright Office.

Create photorealistic images of your products in any environment without expensive photo shoots! (Get started for free)