The use of public domain images for photography :( 2 pages: 1 [2]
Posted: Monday, August 11, 2014 5:12:00 AM
Many people buy graphics to use in their photo shops probably more than original artists here at Zazzle. Some of the highest sellers here use other people's work and work very hard making these into big big sellers. And people make a living off selling these graphics also.

Yes it is a difference of what you like or are able to do, but there is no right or wrong (as long as its allowed) we are all here trying to better our lives. I am a figurative oil painter and do portraits on commission but that type of art does not sell here. My husband makes custom surfboards that also is not for here; it is just another form of artwork many of us do and are grateful for it. I love fractal designing and abstract, I also love the wedding and paper products people do here but not good at it some are amazing .and many purchased graphics.

If I relied only on the thousands of photographs I have to make a living here and all the other POD's I use, I would not be nearly as successful as I am here doing what I do because of the art available to buy or use commercially.
Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2014 1:40:15 PM
I share Shutter Snaps feelings about seeing people just dumping public domain images onto products and spamming. I saw one store that did this, with things like a picture of a single tennis ball on products.

I also think it is fine to use public domain images (and I do mean "public domain", as formally declared, not just found in a Google image search). I use a few of those to accent my designs. For example, I do language products, and one design is "I can speak Italian. What is your superpower?". For that, there is an image of a stick figure superhero from public domain. I am also designing some that will be using PD images as backgrounds with language text on top of them. In other words, I am using them as part of the design, not just tossing them on random items with nothing else.

Images aren't the only problem. I submitted a design using a PD image and the words "I Skype Languages". That was rejected because of the word "Skype", yet I see other designs in the store that have that, even using the Skype logo, as well as Facebook's logo. Those get by the censors because they are done individually and not through QPC, so they aren't checked.
Posted: Friday, August 29, 2014 10:22:48 PM
I also can't help but feel a little irritated when I see an image saved right from the internet and then shoved straight onto a product, it's because I dream up my ideas in my mind that I want to create, I go online to search for images which have bits of what I need which is often 10 to 20 separate photographs which I then painstakingly trace, cut, layer, brush, edit, rotate to the perfect degree, it's all about that little detail my creation needs, I spend days making one image, any little detail I use is far from what it was before I started on it... then I come across one lonesome, whole image which I saw while searching for that incremental little detail for my own image. My image has to be perfect before I let anyone see it, but then someone lazy hasn't even bothered to brighten/contrast or crop a whole image. I know I'm being a little dramatic right now, when I spend so much time on my creations I do feel like others not working even a little bit for it, or for the love of creating art or photography, it makes me feel like they are lazy. Ok rant over lol Stick out tongue It's nice to see I'm not the only one!
Posted: Saturday, August 30, 2014 8:58:38 AM
AllysDesigns wrote:
I know I'm being a little dramatic right now, when I spend so much time on my creations I do feel like others not working even a little bit for it, or for the love of creating art or photography, it makes me feel like they are lazy. Ok rant over lol Stick out tongue


It seems sellers are split on this- i'm glad i'm not the only one with this view though. Grin
Posted: Saturday, August 30, 2014 9:48:02 AM
I doubt those without the ability to draw, paint, photograph, whatever, are being lazy. Often enough, you can see talent simply in how folks arrange and color things. Many of them have talent in selling, too.
Posted: Saturday, August 30, 2014 9:58:30 AM
dww25921 wrote:


While I'm here I'm going to add some back links here with my associate ID. Shocked



Your rf code doesn't work from the forums.
Posted: Saturday, August 30, 2014 10:05:54 AM
Customers don't really care whether it took you 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 months to design an image yourself.

They care if they like it and it fits their wants and needs. Public domain images can be very popular because many of the images are recognizable. People like that sense of familiarity and the availability of reproductions of masterpieces or just images they enjoy on a variety of products. Public domain definitely has its place here.

Some of the SKs who sell PD work touch it up, fix the coloring, etc. Not everyone just grabs an image and slaps it on a bunch of products.

The big risk of using PD images (other than being sure they actually are legal to use) is that anyone else can use them as well.


@Tink - +1
Posted: Saturday, August 30, 2014 8:37:20 PM
I will repeat one more time my concern that some customers may come here and think that they are getting original artwork. If they buy and find out differently, the customer could feel like they have been taken. Of course, a customer disappointed this way will have an unfavorable image of Zazzle which will hurt all of us especially if they find out that the design was free but they paid a royalty for it when they bought the product. For those of you who do original artwork check out our stores. We have a disclaimer on our stores and our Pinterest boards that states that all of our designs are our original artwork and that we do not use public domain, clip art, or stock photos.

I am also sorry to inform many of you that Seventh Avenue now has a line of chef dinnerware similar to what is being used by many on Zazzle. Next it will be available in Walmart.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 3:08:02 AM
MarBethHomeDecor wrote:
For those of you who do original artwork check out our stores. We have a disclaimer on our stores and our Pinterest boards that states that all of our designs are our original artwork and that we do not use public domain, clip art, or stock photos.


I think this is a great idea and i have also stated this on my storefront. I'm not sure how many buyers would read this section but adding it in definitely won't do any harm.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 3:25:12 AM
If I were to declare the originality of my designs, it wouldn't put a dent in products using freely available public domain images, would it?
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 9:23:17 AM
colorwash wrote:
If I were to declare the originality of my designs, it wouldn't put a dent in products using freely available public domain images, would it?


No it wouldn't put a dent in them but it would let the savvy customer know that the design that they are choosing for their special wedding invitations won't be found on a greeting card in Walmart. Then if customers get wiser and choosier on Zazzle, there will be more of a market for original designs on Zazzle. With Zazzle having on the front page "Sell your designs". It kind of implies that the designs on the products in the marketplace are original designs. That means that customers could feel that there is some misrepresentation if they find out that the design on their expensive product is not an original design and has als ended up on products in Walmart or as a background in an advertisemenrt. One further issue that I have spoken out against and have turned people against me, is putting text like "add your own image" and then adding a royalty. I feel that it is a rip-off of the customers and I can't help but think that the Attorneys General of some states might consider it a violation of consumer protection laws. A customer shouldn't have to be wary of going into the Zazzle marketplace and clicking on a product there and end up paying more than they would if they clicked on the create button at the top of the page just because someone added "add your image here". I am creating a new Pinterest board with some blank products, I used the URL from the product creation page to add them to Pinterest so that I didn't add a royalty to them. Yes, I did add my referral code because that doesn't increase the price to the customer and I deserve Zazzle to pay me a referral if what I am doing brings them a customer.

Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 9:41:03 AM
MarBethHomeDecor wrote:
colorwash wrote:
If I were to declare the originality of my designs, it wouldn't put a dent in products using freely available public domain images, would it?


No it wouldn't put a dent in them but it would let the savvy customer know that the design that they are choosing for their special wedding invitations won't be found on a greeting card in Walmart. Then if customers get wiser and choosier on Zazzle, there will be more of a market for original designs on Zazzle. With Zazzle having on the front page "Sell your designs". It kind of implies that the designs on the products in the marketplace are original designs. That means that customers could feel that there is some misrepresentation if they find out that the design on their expensive product is not an original design and has als ended up on products in Walmart or as a background in an advertisemenrt. One further issue that I have spoken out against and have turned people against me, is putting text like "add your own image" and then adding a royalty. I feel that it is a rip-off of the customers and I can't help but think that the Attorneys General of some states might consider it a violation of consumer protection laws. A customer shouldn't have to be wary of going into the Zazzle marketplace and clicking on a product there and end up paying more than they would if they clicked on the create button at the top of the page just because someone added "add your image here". I am creating a new Pinterest board with some blank products, I used the URL from the product creation page to add them to Pinterest so that I didn't add a royalty to them. Yes, I did add my referral code because that doesn't increase the price to the customer and I deserve Zazzle to pay me a referral if what I am doing brings them a customer.


Absolutely everything you've said makes total sense, including those blank add-your-image-here products, which look like rip-offs to me, too.

The only things I've spotted in the outside retail world that I've recognized have all been special effects and music from places such as Digital Juice, which are royalty-free but can be fairly expensive depending on the product. Have you actually seen public domain graphics in Walmart?
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 9:49:44 AM
MarBethHomeDecor wrote:
colorwash wrote:
If I were to declare the originality of my designs, it wouldn't put a dent in products using freely available public domain images, would it?


No it wouldn't put a dent in them but it would let the savvy customer know that the design that they are choosing for their special wedding invitations won't be found on a greeting card in Walmart. Then if customers get wiser and choosier on Zazzle, there will be more of a market for original designs on Zazzle. With Zazzle having on the front page "Sell your designs". It kind of implies that the designs on the products in the marketplace are original designs. That means that customers could feel that there is some misrepresentation if they find out that the design on their expensive product is not an original design and has als ended up on products in Walmart or as a background in an advertisemenrt. One further issue that I have spoken out against and have turned people against me, is putting text like "add your own image" and then adding a royalty. I feel that it is a rip-off of the customers and I can't help but think that the Attorneys General of some states might consider it a violation of consumer protection laws. A customer shouldn't have to be wary of going into the Zazzle marketplace and clicking on a product there and end up paying more than they would if they clicked on the create button at the top of the page just because someone added "add your image here". I am creating a new Pinterest board with some blank products, I used the URL from the product creation page to add them to Pinterest so that I didn't add a royalty to them. Yes, I did add my referral code because that doesn't increase the price to the customer and I deserve Zazzle to pay me a referral if what I am doing brings them a customer.


The price for the customer is exactly the same if you would create a product with 5% royalty.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 10:00:34 AM
Beachwalker wrote:

The big risk of using PD images (other than being sure they actually are legal to use) is that anyone else can use them as well.


This isn't just with PD images. Many artists sell their designs online to be used on commercial products like this, and I've seen some used in Zazzle stores. You might be less likely to find such a design on many products, but I did find some graphics in multiple Zazzle stores.

Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 10:39:03 AM
colorwash wrote:
Have you actually seen public domain graphics in Walmart?



That is a question that I can't answer. I have never been a shop-til-you-drop shopper. Most of the time when I go shopping it is to buy something specicic. I go and get it and I am out of there. We have occasionaally gone to browse, window shop, to see what is out there but we haven't done that in about 3 years because of various circumstances. If I did go, to be able to recognize public domain images, I would have to have a knowledge base of public domain images beyond the depression era government paid photographers. If it is something that I have seen a lot on Zazzle like the chef design than I would know it came from some source like clip art, public domain, or stock photos. Although I mighT mention it here because there is one chain known for stealing designs from artists. However, If anyone can use it free or pay for the iuse of it then so can the designers for Walmart. I will admit that when I started here, I believed all the designs were people's original work.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 10:49:01 AM
I want to say something in defense of using PD images.
While I question the idea of someone slapping something like a PD picture of a tennis ball onto wrapping paper, I can see a point to someone finding some PD artwork and using it, since how else is someone going to see that print?

For example, I found some wonderful vintage travel posters online in the PD, and think they would be great on some products. While it isn't my original artwork or design, it does give people a chance to get products with that artwork, which would be otherwise unused and unseen. If I did that, I would note that they are public domain, and not my own work.

Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 11:00:57 AM
MarBethHomeDecor wrote:
colorwash wrote:
Have you actually seen public domain graphics in Walmart?



That is a question that I can't answer. I have never been a shop-til-you-drop shopper. Most of the time when I go shopping it is to buy something specicic. I go and get it and I am out of there. We have occasionaally gone to browse, window shop, to see what is out there but we haven't done that in about 3 years because of various circumstances. If I did go, to be able to recognize public domain images, I would have to have a knowledge base of public domain images beyond the depression era government paid photographers. If it is something that I have seen a lot on Zazzle like the chef design than I would know it came from some source like clip art, public domain, or stock photos. Although I mighT mention it here because there is one chain known for stealing designs from artists. However, If anyone can use it free or pay for the iuse of it then so can the designers for Walmart. I will admit that when I started here, I believed all the designs were people's original work.

Well, it would seem you and I are alike. I despise shopping of any kind other than for art supplies.

What we're all really talking about is Zazzle, which allows the use of public domain images. I doubt those who create their own designs are brought low via association. Walk into any department store where you'll find both junk and fine items, the latter ending up shining even brighter because of those lesser brethren.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 11:34:03 AM
Parleremo wrote:
I want to say something in defense of using PD images.
While I question the idea of someone slapping something like a PD picture of a tennis ball onto wrapping paper, I can see a point to someone finding some PD artwork and using it, since how else is someone going to see that print?

For example, I found some wonderful vintage travel posters online in the PD, and think they would be great on some products. While it isn't my original artwork or design, it does give people a chance to get products with that artwork, which would be otherwise unused and unseen. If I did that, I would note that they are public domain, and not my own work.



I wouldn't bother noting that they were public domain. I don't think customers care. They see something they like, they buy it. As for customers thinking they are buying original art, it was all original at some point. Some of the art in my shops I made myself, some is public domain, some is art that I bought with a commercial license to use on PODs. If customers only wanted original, newly created artwork, I and a gazillion other shopkeepers wouldn't be selling, and I would never have become an elite proseller.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 12:53:13 PM
Maz wrote:
I wouldn't bother noting that they were public domain. I don't think customers care. They see something they like, they buy it. As for customers thinking they are buying original art, it was all original at some point. Some of the art in my shops I made myself, some is public domain, some is art that I bought with a commercial license to use on PODs. If customers only wanted original, newly created artwork, I and a gazillion other shopkeepers wouldn't be selling, and I would never have become an elite proseller.

Come to think of it, I often use Photoshop's built-in Shapes. Is that cheating? I seriously doubt it. And are you cheating by purchasing art from someone who's granted the right to use it commercially? Absolutely not. Beyond that, whether we're trained artists or not, we create products people like and buy. And that's what counts.

I'm with you on what you said.

I happen to be an artist, but so what?! It doesn't make me any better than anyone else, and anyway, I've never dreamed of being a starving artist living in a garret. Suffer so I can say I'm an "artiste"? Pooh.Stick out tongue
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 1:19:49 PM
I agree with Maz and Beachwalker. We have to consider what the customer wants and design things that they want to buy. Is a tennis ball original? Nope, but if that's what people want there are SK's here smart enough to make products with that design. If customers want something that's more original, isn't that what Artsprojekt is for?

I along with other SK's look at Zazzle as a business. We study popular trends and design accordingly. We've developed a sense for what sells. Sometimes I will venture out of that realm and do something just for fun. I like Maz use a combination of public domain, licensed images and my own creations. As long as designers use images legally I don't see a problem with it.
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014 10:18:55 PM
Sorry if I was unclear, I absolutely agree PD images do have a place on Zazzle, not everyone can or should do what I do, I'm just saying if it's dull, brighten it! If it's slightly out of alignment or the aspect you like about the picture is not clear, crop it! If you just want the tennis ball, cut and copy by all means! If it's perfect the way it is, you have obviously taken the effort and looked for something which compliments Zazzles market place instead of going for anything you see and slapping it on a bunch of products for a quick buck. Though it's not for me to judge what looks nice and what doesn't, that's for the customer to decide, I still maintain that a little bit of effort can make a good image look awesome when it hits the product. That's all my rant was about. Like I said above, I work hard on my images, it doesn't mean mine are better by any means! I have my own style and it's not going to be everyones cup of tea obviously, it just annoys me when the Zazzle market place is flooded with images someone never really cared enough about to polish up. But on the up side I guess those ones sink to the bottom and the polished images float closer to the top! There is a lot to be said for a little effort.
Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 11:26:26 AM
* you it's peoples right as a citizen! I don't care how old this is this post.
Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 1:09:28 PM
I use some public domain images, also some of my own original art. I have even used some photos taken by friends who were generous enough to give me permission to use them. If something sells that has a friend's photography on it, I share it with them and offer to split the few cents I made on the sale. LOL
I have found that most public domain images need a lot of editing before I will use them. I suppose some people use them as is, but I tend to see every little flaw on them. A lot of vintage illustrations have fading and color bleed that I will correct if possible.
For instance, I just did some adaptation of a vintage image. I did check Zazzle and the image has been used here by other designers. Most just used it "as is". I loved the image and want to use it but know it stands little chance of selling since designers who are seen more are using the image.
I made the illustration into a shaded oval and added a narrow gold frame. It looks like a vintage brooch.
I used to get all teed off at people who would take an old faded vintage image and slap it on a product. But I realized that some people actually prefer the old faded, ragged, aged look.
It is irritating for a designer who struggles for perfection in their designs and who is not really making much, to see someone making top seller by using just PD images. But, that is just the way things is. Just gotta live with it.
There are sites where the entire site is dedicated to vintage public domain images on just posters and no other products.
Since they have been around at least as long as Zazzle, they must be making a profit.
Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 1:30:06 PM
Well I am going to contribute to this zombie thread...

I used to be a purist, only using my own art and photos until I ran out of resources...

Now I do use some PD and also free stock images. However I do not believe in using them without making some kind of contribution to the work to make it 1.) different from the original and 2.) different from everyone else that uses the same image.

I look at using very old vintage images as recycling and restoration of a sort because I am cleaning them up, brightening the colors and putting them back into circulation.

ETA: also many times I am repurposing them. for instance I recently took old book covers and made them into bookplate stickers.
Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 2:12:47 PM
­čî╝Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:

I look at using very old vintage images as recycling and restoration of a sort because I am cleaning them up, brightening the colors and putting them back into circulation.


Absolutely! I use many images from New York Public Library but since they are scanned from 200 year old books, they are pretty dark, filthy and worn. Restoration is a must.

The whole popular category of vintage botanical (or heck, any vintage) just couldn't exist on Zazzle without public domain images. The vast majority of those vintage botanical images that sell pretty well here are sketches done by naturalists in the 18th and 19th century.

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 3:06:36 PM
Susannah Keegan wrote:
­čî╝Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:

I look at using very old vintage images as recycling and restoration of a sort because I am cleaning them up, brightening the colors and putting them back into circulation.


Absolutely! I use many images from New York Public Library but since they are scanned from 200 year old books, they are pretty dark, filthy and worn. Restoration is a must.

The whole popular category of vintage botanical (or heck, any vintage) just couldn't exist on Zazzle without public domain images. The vast majority of those vintage botanical images that sell pretty well here are sketches done by naturalists in the 18th and 19th century.



I love that library! also the British library collections.
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 10:41:48 PM
ShutterSnaps wrote:
As a store owner who uses his own photography in order to create products, i am rather annoyed when i see store owners who have simply downloaded a public domain image and with no real work involved have reaped the benefits...

I recently found a Zazzle Pro seller (i won't name names) who's top selling designs had all come from a certain well-known public domain website. The images had not been altered/graphically enhanced etc, and the description had not even mentioned that it was a public domain image (is this the protocol?). The keywords tags were also quite simply keyword spam.

For a turtle image the keywords were:
red,eared,ear,slider,turtle,zazzle,top,best,for,him,her,daughter,animals,mother,son,nature,wild,water,cool,colorful, rock, amazing, beautiful, colors, green, birthday, children, lovely, reptile, postcards.

Surely its not right for these kind of store owners to benefit from the hard work of others- where many of these images are rightfully best sellers because a lot of work has clearly gone into creating them.

Does anyone else share my annoyance? Or is the use of public domain photography widely accepted on here?

Thanks- rant over! Smile



You are putting a lot of restrictions on products made from public domain images. Copyright protection does not last forever? That is why copyright is often called a "limited monopoly.ÔÇŁ When copyrights grow old and die, the works they protect fall into the public domain. public domain works may be freely copied or used in the creation of derivative works without permission, or authorization, of the former copyright owners. So the artist in question does not have to add an attribution to their description however they need to keep the public domain information on file in case Zazzle has any questions.

To answer your other question no I am not annoyed by what other designers do. I just do my own thing, and I am happy if other designers are successful with their public domain products. All sales make Zazzle stronger and successful.
Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2020 2:28:41 PM
I see that this is an old conversation, but since it has started up again, it bothered me at one time. I work hard with original artwork of mine. Thinking that it has to be original work on Zazzle.

When a friend sent me vintage postcards, I began a vintage line of work. Yet, in nearly all cases, I have restored and enhanced those images.

Now I have used PD images along with my original work. Often I will use the PD as part of a unique design. For myself, I usually do something with those images and do not grab them from online without putting some creative work into those.

Other storekeepers do grab and upload the PD images as they are. Often without even changing the sizes or noting the pixels. But that is them. Zazzle accepts it.
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