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Is there a way I can find out who owns the rights to an image I want to use on my web app? Are there any websites that provide that kind of information?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I will often try to find the source of an image using a reverse image search. TinEye used to be the best service available, but Google's Search By Image usually produces the better results. It is wise to check both, however. There have been a few instances where TinEye has been able to find an image for me when Google did not.

As a rule of thumb, I would never use an image if am unsure of its distribution license. This is especially true if you intend to monetize your web app.

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Getty Images will do a reverse image search for you and let you know if it is one of theirs. Shutterstock though refuse to do so, claiming they don't have the technology - though one imagines if you used one of theirs without permission they'd find a way.

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Another way could be to check the EXIF/meta data attached to the image. Sometimes there're crucial information hidden in there, which might be of use about who owns the license of this image. Not reliable though and can be rewritten, but certainly one of the way.

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