If you use an image from a free-download website and the same image is used in other websites, is this also copyright or not?

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    I think the answer depends entirely on the licence the website grants for its images. How other sites have licensed the images they use may not be immediately apparent, and should not concern you anyway. Although I've tidied and retagged the question, I'm not entirely what is actually being asked here. – Andrew Leach Oct 10 '14 at 9:02

You must check the website's license agreements. It's up to each owner of an image how to handle licenses so there is no answer that's correct for all images that are out there.

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  • This answer isn't correct so I'm downvoting it. Asker states "free website." Unless you purchase the exclusive rights to an image there is no licensing agreement that would ever make this answer accurate, and if you are purchasing the exclusive rights then you're not on a "free website." – Ryan Oct 10 '14 at 11:59
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    If it's free to download or not has nothing to do with what you can do with the image (add on a web site, include in software etc). – Henrik Ekblom Oct 10 '14 at 12:02
  • And those things have nothing to do with the question which unless I understand wrong is asking if two people license the same image are they both within their rights to use it or once one party uses it, nobody else can. – Ryan Oct 10 '14 at 12:04
  • Well, the question is not clear in that sense I guess... – Henrik Ekblom Oct 10 '14 at 12:07

No. The copyright holder on an image is the person who originally publishes it not anyone else.

If John Doe makes a photo of Tokyo and licenses it under the Creative Commons, then it is available to everyone. Otherwise royalty free sites wouldn't exist because only the first person to use the image would be within their rights.

Another way of saying it is:

John Doe takes a photo of Tokyo and makes it available under Creative Commons. Adam Brown uses it on his website. Charles Dickens uses it on his website, AFTER (and being aware) of it being used by Adam Brown. Adam Brown has zero ownership of said image though and therefore cannot claim any rights to the image in order to prevent Charles Dickens from also using it.

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  • It is creation which generates copyright, but I thought too about what would happen if licensing to one would preclude from licensing to others - it couldn't work. The licensees have no copyright on that image. The rights they have are those the copyright holder granted in the license, and this could be cc by-sa or other; in any case rarely is like free beer. People still have to read licenses when they don't pay - arguably even more so - as they end up "costing" you some rights. – user29318 Oct 10 '14 at 20:32

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