As an artist I resent some people's assumption that original art from my abilities and imagination, which I have sacrificed a lot to develop, should somehow default to public property. If we require artists to participate in a money economy their art belongs to them. Copying images and not following the copyright owners permissions to the letter is stealing, outright. And deep pockets like Disney has taught individuals that the hard way.
While most references to Clip Art disappeared with Office 2013, users were able to insert the old-school images into documents using an Office.com Clip Art option. That is now being replaced by Bing Images, with Microsoft filtering images to ensure they’re based on the Creative Commons licensing system for personal or commercial use. Most of the new images are much more modern, instead of the illustrated remnants of the past. Clip Art might be facing the same Office-related demise as the great Clippy assistant, but let the images below remind you of the good old times before the modern-era takeover.
Microsoft’s gallery had an aesthetic, to be sure, and it wasn’t high art. But these images, cheesy as they are, were also incredibly useful in their time. It wasn’t easy to quickly find images in the dial-up age, and an entire industry of CD-ROMs you could buy for $50+ tried to fill that niche. You could buy those, or you could stick with what you already had: Microsoft’s clip art.
Is there a potential downside? Yes. Just because a search engine sees something as Creative Commons doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Here at MakeUseOf, for example, we’ve had at least one photographer threaten to sue us over an image he didn’t realize he himself licensed as Creative Content. He backed down when we pointed this out, and it’s one example resulting from thousands of blog posts spread over a decade, but know that this isn’t without risk.
This pretty seriously ticks me off. Why in the world would a company delete something that far ranging without at least sending an email to the customer or broadcasting it on every platform possible? I used clip art on a regular basis....making cards, mailing labels, chore charts, papers for my homeschool, etc. It would have been nice to be able to save off all those clip art graphics to my own drive before MS Office did one of their lovely updates and removed everything. Personally, I detest Bing and I'm not even remotely interested in getting involved with anything involving copyright law. Maybe it's time to make the journey to Open Office at last. Buh bye Microsoft!