Photo Clip Art Tips 2 of 3: Sources and Rights to Use


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While great photos abound around the web, a few sources are set up specifically for presentations and similar uses. There are two main issues to be aware of:

1. Copyrights
2. Costs

Generally speaking, we should not simply copy images from company websites or the “image” areas of Google and Yahoo – these images are generally marked directly or indirectly with “Copyright xxx – All rights reserved”, meaning these images are not being offered for use. Using them, in fact, puts your organization at risk of copyright infringement. [The same is true for copying comic strips or “Dilbert”…]

Here are a few sources that I’d recommend, along with comments on copyright and cost (caveat: based on my understanding – you should check on your own to be sure!):

This is Microsoft’s clip art website, specifically created to support users of PowerPoint and other MS applications. A subset of these images is typically installed on computers with Office. The online listing is more “evergreen” and tends to include old and new images.

The great news about all of these images is that they are (1) able to be used freely (no copyright restrictions) and (2) can be used free of charge.

Searching is simple – in both meanings of the phrase. You may have to browse through piles of thumbnails to find images that work best for you. and

iStockphoto and fotalia each have a large range of images – some of which are really terrific – for sale. Searching is more effective than with the Microsoft website, in my opinion, and there are capabilities to rapidly expand each image to get a better view than in a thumbnail.

Pricing is based on buying “credits” which then are used to purchase images. Usage rights start at one-person-one-computer and can extend to larger, corporate-use arrangements. Images are typically prices in accord with resolution – higher resolution images require more credits. Images are also typically available in a range of sizes.

Cost for a typical image suitable for a PowerPoint presentation by projector (or the web) runs from ~$1-4. You generally have the right to use that image as many times as you like, without time or geographic restriction.

Other sources you’d recommend? Please let me know!

Copyright © 2009 The Second Derivative – All Rights Reserved.

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Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.


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