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How to use licence free works

If you don’t want to pay for a licence and you don’t want to lose time by negotiating with the owner, you can search for licence free works. Although it’s not possible to delete a copyright, some people allow you to use their work free of charge.

What are licence free works?

There are several sources where you can find licence free images, sounds, and videos on the web. The works on these sites are usually free to use as long as you respect the conditions of use. Normally you will have to inform the owner about the use of their work and the licence does not allow you to sell the copied work or to use it for commercial purposes.

How to credit the owner

If you use licence free images, videos or music credit the owner always for the original creation with a “by …”.

How to use the Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that has created six alternative licences enabling people to change their copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved”. Works that are under a Creative Commons licence allow some uses under certain conditions.

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How to use copyrighted works

How to identify a copyrighted work

Works become copyrighted automatically the moment they are made. Every creator of a work automatically owns the rights to the products of its intellectual property.

The creator doesn’t need to add a ©, or to write, “all rights reserved” to protect his work. He can decide for himself who can copy his work or he can sell the intellectual property rights to another person or a corporation.

Due to these facts it doesn’t help to label a work with the name of the photographer or designer. And it doesn’t matter if you use it for commercial or non-commercial use. It’s not allowed and I recommend that you do not try it. Lawsuits are rife.

How to get permission

If you want to use a copyrighted work on your website you have the following possibilities:

  • Buy a licence.
    You can achieve a temporary or limited permission to use the copyrighted work. This is normally fast and easy. You buy the licence from a corporation that holds the intellectual property rights.
  • Negotiate with the owner.
    You can contact the owner, if possible, and negotiate the conditions of use. This is a long and complicated process. The rights holders are often more than one person and especially in the music business it’s nearly impossible to get permission.

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How to avoid copyright infringements


Music, designs, photos, illustrations, and so forth are intellectual creations and copyrighted works. You are not allowed to use them in part or in whole without permission from the creator.

Find out

When to use audio

Audio is a very efficient way to deliver information. You can record voices and deliver podcasts on the web. Or you can offer sample music, if you are a musician. Be careful when using music on your website. Copyright in the music business is very complex. It’s up to you to verify the terms of use.


  • Use audio when you want users to focus on the sound.
  • Use audio to offer comments or notes for a presentation and make the information on the page more comprehensive.
  • Use audio to demonstrate a piece of music.
  • Use audio to make things more personal.
  • Use audio to teach the pronunciation of words (foreign language).


  • Don’t use background music unless you are a musician or work with sound.
  • Don’t automatically launch audio on your website.

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