One does not want to end up being sued because they have drawn a picture of a famous photographers work, or used an image in an artwork..
So its good to know that there are solutions!
One source I love is public domain images!
So what is public domain?
the following is an excerpt from wikipedia -
The public domain is a range of abstract materials – commonly referred to as intellectual property – which are not owned or controlled by anyone. The term indicates that these materials are therefore "public property", and available for anyone to use for any purpose. The laws of various countries define the scope of the public domain differently, making it necessary to specify which jurisdiction's public domain is being discussed. Furthermore, the public domain can be defined in contrast to several forms of intellectual property; the public domain in contrast to copyrighted works is different from the public domain in contrast to trademarks or patented works.
The public domain is most often discussed in contrast to works restricted by copyright. Under modern law, most original works of art, literature, music, etc. are covered by copyright from the time of their creation for a limited period of time (which varies by country). When the copyright expires, the work enters the public domain
Can I use any image I find on the net?
Freely obtained does not mean free to republish
These factors have reinforced the false notion that "freely obtained" means "public domain." One could argue that the Internet is a publicly available domain, not licensed or controlled by any individual, company, or government; therefore, everything on the Internet is public domain. This specious argument ignores the fact that licensing rights are not dependent on the means of distribution or consumer acquisition. (If someone gives a person stolen merchandise, it is still stolen, even if the receiving party was not aware of it.) Chasing down copyright violations based on the idea that information is inherently free has become a primary focus of industries whose financial structure is based on their control of the distribution of such media.
(Almost) everything written down is copyrighted
Another complication is that publishing exclusively on the Internet has become extremely popular. In countries party to the Berne Convention, an author's original works are covered by copyright as soon as the work is put into a "fixed" form; no formal copyright notice or registration is necessary. But such laws were passed at a time when the focus was on materials that could not be as easily and cheaply reproduced as digital media, nor did they comprehend the ultimate impossibility of determining which set of electronic bits is original. Technically, any Internet posting (such as blogs or emails) could be considered copyrighted material unless explicitly stated otherwise.
The distribution of many types of Internet postings (particularly Usenet articles and messages sent to electronic mailing lists) inherently involves duplication. The act of posting such a work can therefore be taken to imply consent to a certain amount of copying, as dictated by the technical details of the manner of distribution. However, it does not necessarily imply total waiver of copyright.
Furthering the public domain with the Internet
Many people are using the Internet to contribute to the public domain, or make works in the public domain more accessible to more people. For example, Project Gutenberg and LibriVox coordinate the efforts of people who transcribe works in the public domain into electronic form. Some projects exist for the sole purpose of making material available into the public domain or under no-cost licenses. The IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project) is attempting to create a virtual library containing all public domain musical scores, as well as scores from composers who are willing to share their music with the world free of charge. The Eyebeam OpenLab creates software and hardware projects in the public domain, such as the work of the Graffiti Research Lab.
Note that there are many works that are not part of the public domain, but for which the owner of some proprietary rights has chosen not to enforce those rights, or to grant some subset of those rights to the public. See, for example, the Free Software Foundation which creates copyrighted software and licenses it without charge to the public for most uses under a class of license called "copyleft", forbidding only proprietary redistribution. Sometimes such work is inadvertently referred to as "public domain" in colloquial speech.
So below here we have a gorgeous photograph found in the public domain,
donated by Magnus Rosendahl
I particularly love this shot! I'm planning on doing something with it although I'm not sure yet, as my head is swimmimg with so many ideas, as usual...
So. like I was saying, I particularly love this shot, as where I live it doesnt ever snow.
The photograph in the top right corner of this post, titled "East Devon Beach" was donated to the public domain by Anna Cervova
Would make a lovely background for some poetry artwork, or great reference for a painting... the ideas are endless....
And my favourite shot I've found as so far in the public domain, one that I'm planning on starting a painting based on asap, is
Sunset In Serengeti by Richard SpencerIsnt this such a beautiful shot!
excerpt from public domain.net
"If you have any quality pictures which you would like to share with others you can upload them under My Account - Upload Image. See your work across the Internet, in ebooks and magazines, on t-shirts, mouse pads or mugs, etc.
We know that taking good pictures is not easy and that it takes time and money. So there are some bonuses for you if you release you pictures under public domain license. They are mentioned under My Account and they are really interesting."
Hopefully the more aware people are made in general of copyright laws and whats available in the public domain, art theft will not only be illegal, immoral, and just wrong, but it wont even be a thought....