3 billion images

are shared online every day.
85% are illegal!

When the 'Free Photo Fairytale' turned into a Nightmare

The tabloids have been packed with stories lately about celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and Amy Schumer being sued for using photos they did not own the copyright to.

However, these celebrity cases are just a drop in a much bigger ocean. The huge problem in the future will not be famous people using illegal images on social media, but ordinary companies downloading photos from the ‘free photo websites’.

These are websites with massive traffic that all claim to be free for commercial use. However, it turns out they are not! 

One of the most popular platforms, Unsplash, reached 1 billion downloads in 2020, and all these photos are being downloaded and used by companies that will very soon find themselves facing massive fines from both photographers, models etc.

What the free websites 'forget' to tell their users - or rather write with very small letters in their long Terms & Conditions - is that they are actually not at all taking care of the copyright or the insurance on the billions of images that they facilitate to the users.

This is why Unsplash & Pixabay are lawsuits just waiting to happen:


They don't have the copyright & insurance

Websites like Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels etc. all share images that have never been approved for commercial use by neither the models nor the brands or trademarks featured on them.


Companies using them will get sued

Small companies have already started getting sued because of the unclear copyrights & licenses on the popular free websites.
This is just the beginning of what may become a true nightmare.


AI will make the number of lawsuits explode

The recent advances in AI technology will make this problem explode. It has become much easier for people to match their photos online and start suing companies that use 'free' photos.


Lawsuits worth billions just around the corner

The copyfright infringement experts at Copytrack estimate that 2,5 billion illegal images are shared every day. For people using photos from free websites this should be a massive warning flag.

Note that the Unsplash License does NOT include the right to use our photos, when there are trademarks, logos, brands or people in them.

Quote from the LONG Unsplash Terms & Conditions


After reading the paragraph above, no companies will probably use the photos, but on the much more visible frontpage of the Unsplash license page, this is what it states:

"All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial purposes.
You do not need to ask permission."