So this is an issue I see a lot on the forums and there have been other posts made about it. Still, it seems to be something that, especially new authors, tend to ignore. So, I’m making this as a resources post for anyone who is looking for backgrounds or images to edit for art (such as covers and art scenes.
First, the use of copyrighted materials in a commercial way (i.e. EPISODE) is illegal.
And yes, some of these images get through the ‘art review’ & they approve the ones that aren’t super obvious or don’t have specific brand names, but that doesn’t make them legal to use. And, if you read the text beside the check to upload box, you are releasing Episode from any legal obligation by claiming the art or background is YOURS. It’s not and should someone see their images in your story, they could sue you for real world money. Don’t take that chance.
Pinterest and Google are NOT places to find copyright free art or images! Since, in the case of Pinterest, you can pin/save images from anywhere on the internet, it is never ‘safe to assume’ that it’s free-use images- even if they’ve tagged it with “episode backgrounds”. There’s no way to filter for free use on Pinterest, so don’t risk it.
On Google, when you click Images, there is a Tools button at the top - click it and select Creative Commons licenses. Not a perfect tool by any means but by simply visiting the associated website (visit site button) you will be able to see the credit/attribution information as well is how the artist allows the public to use and edit it.
However, again, since images can be uploaded from anywhere and marked any license type, Google is NOT a reliable place to find free use backgrounds in the Images tab.
FREE USE WEBSITES FOR BACKGROUNDS:
FREE USE PNG SITES FOR OVERLAYS:
note that these sites are free and safe for commercial use - however, like any website where people can freely upload images, things with copyrighted brand names or celebrity images do slip through their review process much the same way Copyrighted Images get through Episode’s review process. That said, be aware of what you are downloading, and if it has a brand/logo/company or celebrity name on it – it’s copyrighted images, report it and find a different image.
www.rawpixel.com (good resource for a multitude of background/overlay needs)
Artists, if I miss your link, add it in a comment! Art Shops! Feel free to link your art shops here!
ARTISTS and Episode Community backgrounds
Official Background Sharing Thread
**OFFICIAL** Overlay Sharing Thread
Free backgrounds and overlays! 🏗
Free Backgrounds and Overlays 2
🦋 Marysol.Episode's - Google drive! 🦋
💗 Marysol.Episode's Background Thread 💗
🌷 FlowerGriefer's Backgrounds 🌷
Indie's Background & Overlay Thread
Cole's Background Drive
Episode Overlays, Free Use ( These are Episode overlays from Episode’s background for all the ones they gave us without overlays. I don’t require credit, just my way of helping out Community authors )
Be sure to read the artists rules of use & on the sharing threads, pay attention to the comments as artists sometimes forget to add their credit info with their images but comment them when asked.
There are dozens of open art shops that will make you custom backgrounds if you request properly and don’t hop from thread to thread requesting the same thing from multiple shops (thread hopping, it’s just disrespectful to the artists.)
So, please, stop using copyrighted art and backgrounds. There are millions of images of all kinds on the websites I listed that are free use or free use with credit the same way artists here require credit. The fact that " Episode approved it" means NOTHING when it comes to legal aspects. When you check that box to upload you are giving Episode a get-out-of-jail-free card as far as any litigation goes. It falls on your shoulders. Don’t risk it, just do a little work and find an image that you need on any of the websites or threads I posted.