This is just a quick one for all you bloggers and publishers out there.

If you've run into problems from accidentally, or not-so-accidentally, using images under copyright from a routine image search, Google has just made things a lot easier for you.

In amongst the image search options, Google has just added a search by 'usage rights' field. 

So the next time you're writing an incendiary expose on a well-loved historical figure or merely in need a bit of generic clip-art to illustrate a target being missed, just head to Google images, then click on 'Search tools'.

This will bring down another sub-menu where you can filter your search for Usage Rights.

The default is 'not filtered by licence' as per usual, but this handy feature allows for 'labelled for reuse' filtering as well as various 'commercial reuse' options.

This filtering has actually been available for a few years, but it was buried deep within the advanced settings. Now that it's so easy to find, you can rest assured that even if your words get you into hot water or create an unholy Twitter storm, at least the image you use won't result in a slap-on-the-wrists.

Although any subsequent Photoshopping you do afterwards will be on your own head.

I should also point out that there are plenty of other useful resources out there for copyright free images. Flickr operates an excellent public domain catalogue called The Commons and Bing has been offering a licence search filter since last year.

If you know of any other quality resources, do please let us know in the comments below.

Here's a recent post on Gmail hacks that may also make your life a little easier.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 15 January, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (4)


Joachim Farncombe

Thanks Google, thanks Christopher. For those of you working for the NHS there is a free photo library
It's not great, but it's better than nowt.

over 4 years ago



Hi Christopher,

This is great news for us bloggers. It use to be one hell of a headache to find images we could use on out content, it's about time Google has made something easier for us after all its updates.

Just shows Google is taking content seriously this year and it's time businesses started to accept this reality.

What are your views?


over 4 years ago


Richard Hussey

I also use a site called Compfight which also makes it easy to copy and paste the HTML to generate the acknowledgement to the owner of the pic into my posts.

There is a WordPress plug in for Compfight which does it automatically but this seemed to stop working on the last WP update.

over 4 years ago


James Seber

It's good to hear that this is easily accessible, as a retailer we have a lot of problems with competitors doing a Google search and using our copyrighted in-house photos on their sites.

Is there a way to ensure the images included at our domain are recognised by Google as copyrighted and not for reuse?

over 4 years ago

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