Teddy is working on a presentation for class next week. To be sure to do it correctly, he followed the advice given in the article "Using Digital Graphics to Make Appealing Visual Presentations". He wants to use images and graphics.The presentation will not be distributed beyond the class.  Teddy asks himself if he should use royalty-free images and graphics.

What is a royalty-free image?

What is a royalty-free image?

Images can take several forms: photo, graph, drawing... In any case, the royalty-free image is always governed by a license of use. It will always belong to its author, as Article L-111-1 of the French Intellectual Property Code states: "The author of a work of the mind shall enjoy in that work, by the mere fact of its creation, an exclusive incorporeal property right which shall be enforceable against all persons." A royalty-free image may very well be a no-fee or for-fee image. It is often governed by a Creative Commons license, which means that it can be used indefinitely but within a defined context. The principle of the Creative Commons is to open the field of creation to others and to enable regulated sharing. Thus, a royalty-free image is simply an image that is intended to be used and is governed by various terms of use.

"Silver Ipad on Books", publié le 14/12/2016, auteur : Pixabay, site : pexels.com

Why use this type of image in an educational context?

As a teacher or student, maybe you think that no one will catch you and you can use any image without risk? And yet, as soon as the image is included in a presentation, homework assignment, or course, it is subject to intellectual property and the author must be mentioned. You might as well form good habits and credit the author for all images used.

In the article "5 dangers of using Google Images without permission" written by Amos Struck for the Stock Photo Secrets website, we are reminded of the risks inherent in the improper use of images:

In criminal cases, the penalty for copyright infringement is up to a €300,000 fine and three years in prison.

Today, robots called "copyright trackers" can crawl the Internet in order for authors to find their images and be notified in case of misuse.

It is also a question of ethics: copyright is an important concept in French law.


Take advantage of image banks to meet your needs!

Today, it is quite easy to find an image bank offering royalty-free photos. To name just a few such platforms, there's Fotolia, Shutterstock, Offset, Flickr... You can also simply use Google's advanced image search tool that allows you to select terms of use. You can also choose an image bank specially designed for educational settings. Shutterstock’s website, for example, provides millions of royalty-free images that you can explore by category. In this way, you can find images relevant to art history or geography, for instance, or you can find illustrations of electricity experiments for a physical science class.

How to use a royalty-free image

The permitted usage of an image (use, modification, commercial or non-commercial purpose) depends on the type of license that covers it. If nothing is mentioned, assume there is a copyright and that you cannot use the image. If Creative Commons is indicated, you can use the image. The type of license will then tell you what you can do with it. For example, there are "NC" Creative Commons licenses for Non Commercial. This means that you can use the image, but not for commercial purposes. For more information on the existing license types, please visit the dedicated website. There are also free licenses like GNU for free documentation; sometimes, you'll simply see "copyright-free" indicated. In this case, you can use the images and edit them as you wish. If you wish to use an image from the public domain, you're only required to indicate the author, which is the case for the majority of works in French law.

"Computer", 18/11/2017, Rustam Gulov, Flickr.com

There are many "royalty-free" images on image banks and platforms. But beware: royalty-free does not mean it's a free image or free of all rights. It's important to learn how to use these images properly in a school setting to avoid risks. As a user of images, you must always ensure that you are acting within your rights. This can be done either by using reusable royalty-free images or by purchasing a paid license that permits your desired usage types. Copyright is equally important for a quotation as it is for an image or graphic.


Teddy, now you have many resources to find royalty-free images and graphics. 😉


Sources :

"5 dangers of using Google Images without permission". Stock Photo Secrets, Amos Struck, published on December 9, 2013.

Free Images on Shutterstock, Creative Commons, pexels.com, unsplash.com, wallpapers.io, flickr.com

Header image from TEACH magazine: “Practical Tips To Prevent Plagiarism”. TEACH, Meagan Gillmore.