I recently discovered a new (well, new to me, anyway) photo sharing site. Unsplash is a source for high-resolution, high-quality photographs. What makes them different from other similar sites is that you can use all of the images royalty-free. What does that mean in practical terms?
Unsplash License (for users)
All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.
More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.
Even though credit isn’t required, Unsplash photographers appreciate a credit as it provides exposure to their work and encourages them to continue sharing. A credit can be as simple as adding their name with a link to their profile or photo:
Simple enough, right?
Still, I hesitated. I had my doubts. How do I, as a semi-professional photographer, benefit from giving my work away for free? Why would anyone choose to hire me when they could get my work for free? So I did some further checking.
It turns out that a lot of photographers whose works have been discovered through Unsplash have been hired my the very companies that used their free images. These clients liked something that they saw in the photographer’s work and decided to hire them for specific projects. And that’s the kind of advertising that money just can’t buy!
Unsplash License (For Photographers)
Limited License to Us. You grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to host, store, transfer, display, adapt, perform, reproduce, modify, translate, and distribute your User Content (in whole or in part) in any media formats and through any media channels (now known or hereafter developed). You understand that we will not pay you for any use of your Photos and that your Photos will be made available to the public for their use without providing you attribution or compensation.
Authority. When you upload Photos to the Service, in addition to the license that you grant us to post the Photos publicly and permit other Unsplash users to download and use them, you also authorize us under your copyrights to enforce any violations of the sublicenses we grant in the Photos to others. In other words, if an Unsplash user misuses one of your Photos downloaded from the Service, you authorize us to enforce your copyrights in the Photos on your behalf.
So I’ve decided to give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes.