In previous blogs, we have told you (and our office space Toronto tenants) what you should do to protect yourself from infringing on image copyright and software copyright laws. However, we did not go into much detail on how to find the alternatives to copyright images or high-priced software. So this blog will cover some tips to finding these alternatives without the legal risks.

Saying “I found it on the Internet” is not a defense against copyright infringement because works on the Internet are as copyright-able as those found in a book or in any other media. Oh, and just in case you thought about using “it didn’t say it was copyrighted” that is also not a defense. So what should you do?

There are plenty of images that have been posted as Creative Commons, meaning that the image is public domain or licensed to use. When searching for images, be sure you know the type of license you need and the requirements you must fulfill when using that image. There are also sites like stock.xchng that offers a range of images that are free to use – but again, be very careful to check the license requirements.

While there are plenty of sources for royalty-free images, not all the images you find on these sites are licensed for use on certain types of commercial websites or blogs. It is important to read (Yes, I mean actually read, and not just click “yes”) the fine print and make sure that the image can be used without penalty. As one of our office for rent Toronto clients told us, it is even more important to do a reverse image search of the image you want to use, to make sure that someone (who may not be the image owner) has not posted a copyright image on one of these sites and mislabeled it as “free to use.”

Finding software that is open-source can often be easier than finding free images. If you are looking for an alternative to Microsoft office, you can Google (or Bing) the term “alternative to Microsoft office.” The results that will come up will often be a sites like The TechRepublic Blog “Five alternatives to Microsoft Office”  that reviews or recommends alternatives open-source programs – and even the Google Docs’ cloud-based Productivity Suite and the free Microsoft Office Web Apps that are an alternative to an on-premise Microsoft Office deployment. This free suite of cloud apps includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Note even the graphic used in this photo of one of our meeting rooms was created using the free Gimp software

Even the graphic used in this photo of one of our meeting rooms was created using free Gimp software.

Finding an open-source alternative to Adobe Photoshop is just as simple. There are offline programs like Gimp,, Pixia and online programs like Picnik and Adobe Photoshop Express, the official online version of Photoshop. Gimp and Adobe Photoshop Express are the two personal favorites of our Toronto office space web designer who occasionally needs to re-size, crop images or add text to images he puts up on our website and blog.

Remember to leave us your comments on this or any other of our blogs. Your feedback will not only help us create the content you want, but posting a comment could win you a $100 BonAppetit Gift Card or a $25 Tim Hortons Coffee Card.