Documentation:Intellectual Property Office/Image Sites
Images are "created" through photography, graphic arts, cartoonists, computer generated media and other forms of visual media. Each is protected through copyright by one or more sources. For example, a photographer who takes a picture of a sculpture is the creator of the photograph while the sculptor is the creator of the subject. Where a photographer takes a picture of a person or a landmark building or other trademarked images there is copyright in the source as well and a model release is required.
Cropping, annotating or otherwise changing an image is an adaptation which may infringe on the creator's moral rights associated with the work. The moral rights are defined as, “the right to the integrity of the work.”The SCC has stated that, “the integrity of the work is infringed only if the work is modified to the prejudice of the honour or reputation of the author." These rights can only belong to the creator and while they can be waived, they cannot be traded. Permission is required from the creator if the image is to be adapted.
There are many sites which host Royalty-free images for use in projects. This does not mean that the images are free to use. There is a one time transaction fee payable for use of the image in a project.
There are some sites where the images have been released through a Creative Commons License, permission is provided for educational use or similarly have been put in the public domain.