Creative Commons Zero CC0 license

CC0 is one of the most permissive license applicable to art, books, plays, movies, music, articles, photographs, blogs, and websites. This will be reviewed here, in the light of images for commercial catalogs.


“A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, they might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of his/her own work) …”

There are several types of CC licenses, the CC0 being the “freeing content globally without restrictions”, sometimes called “public domain”.

CC0 license logo

CC0 in short

  • the pictures are free for personal and for commercial use.
  • you can modify, copy and distribute the photos.
  • all without asking for permission or setting a link to the source = no attribution required

CC0 license details:

“human-readable” summaryfull “CC0 1.0 Universal” legal code


CC0 public domain logo

As described in the links above, the license governs the image itself (its media=the file, the paper …), not necessary its content = the subject(s) visible inside.

The minimal practice is that -unless they give their consent- identifiable people may not appear in a bad light or in a way that they may find offensive.

Additionally, some other rights are not concerns; copyrights, databases, rights for privacy*

* Note that the CC0 license applies additionnaly to local laws … that may differ from country to country. Examples: the rule and timing to fall automatically into public domain, or rights of the heirs, or privacy of the identifiable persons.

mind copyrights


On general image usage

if your image depict following topics, regulation varies a lot from country to country:

  • nudity
  • drugs, pharmaceuticals, any kinf of smoking, alcohol, lottery or money games
  • recognizable child / children

On CC0 images specifically

Unless you have specific information, we advise NOT to use CC0 images in following cases:

  • a recognizable person is the main subject of the image
  • if a brand is the main subject of the image
  • if any modern art is the main subject of the picture (some say even if it just visible on the image). This applies to architecture, paintings, drawings sculptures, picture(s) in picture, even if located in a public area … Be carefull here: some artists are pleased their art gets published to the largest audience, while some others have an army of lawyers.
  • if the media you will use the image in is engaged or politics in any way


  • we advise you to keep an unmodified copy of the original image, its initial filename and the date and place/website where it was taken from
  • the fact that someone used a copyrighted document without permission, does now give you the right to do it also (some exceptions to that in rare case; do not count on that)
  • reading the EXIF info (if available) of an image file can give more info than the site it was taken from, which may have been copied from somewhere else (note that prodalist permits to read these EXIF info … so as to remove them; use only when yours)
  • when dealing with a lot of pictures at the same time -like catalogs- and specifically when this is automated to gain time -prodalist- we advise NOT to mix images that have different licenses in the same folder.

More info on copyright

note: “CC” license = “some rights reserved” ≠ CC0
most common being “not for commercial” or “attribution required”

Websites for CC0 images (or similar)

Note: while in theses websites, double check each image if any special condition & mind not to confuse with the images around, that may not be CC0 (these sites have their own partners & sponsors who are not CC0 by definition)

prodalist catalog free image library 1 prodalist catalog free image library 2 prodalist catalog free image library 3 prodalist catalog free image library 4

Disclaimer: all this page is given for information only. Please consult your lawer for legal advises.


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