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 applies more to teachers than to anyone else, but clip art (especially black line clip art) can´t be beat when it comes to using images that are going to be photocopied. It creates a much cleaner look than a photo. While there is much talk of going digital, the reality is that most of the world still is using paper for teaching . . . and a lot of it, not because we aren´t open to the digital world, but many times not all students have access.
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.
There it was, inside the program you were already using. Sure, it wasn’t pretty, but you could quickly add a visual highlight to your document or presentation. Even better: everything was rights-cleared, meaning you could use it in your document or PowerPoint presentation without the fear of legal repercussions Confused About Copyright Law? These Online Resources Can Help Confused About Copyright Law? These Online Resources Can Help It's a confusing subject, yes, but it's important that you wrap your head around it. If you're involved in any sort of creative work, these resources will help you do just that. Read More .
My colleague Chris compared Google Image search to Bing Bing Images vs. Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing Images vs. Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing’s image search once challenged Google, offering more features and a better design. With infinite scrolling and the ability to search for similar images, Bing was legitimately better than Google at image search just a... Read More , and found Google’s results to be better. If you feel the same way, don’t worry: you can use it to find rights-cleared images. While searching for an image, click Search Tools then Usage Rights.
It’s not hard to find images to use online – just use an image search. This works well, but it’s worth noting that doing so isn’t necessarily legal. Most of the images you can find this way are owned by their original creators. This likely doesn’t matter if you’re only using something for private use, or even a school assignment, but if you intend to publish a work you need to make sure all rights are cleared.
This is TERRIBLE! Besides being able to edit vector images like Will mentioned (which is important for those of us who don't have graphic artists available to create custom images or the budget or time to buy that service ad hoc), you could also search for style "families" (different graphics that were all in the same style). There was a huge range of files and styles in the collection and it was much faster to find what you need than to do a Bing search. Plus, you knew that everything there was free and free to use, without having to worry about CC license issues.