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There are multiple free texture sites, like: texturemate.com or plaintextures.com. I am wondering how safe it is to use their content? I imagine that the texture could be withdrawed from the site, making it difficult to prove it was really there. Or: a file can origin from other, restricted source.

I am thinking about using wikipedia Commons, as there is the OTRS system. However most media requires attributing.

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It depends on the site and it depends on the content. This also seems to be a way of asking where to get "really free" media. –  Byte56 Aug 28 '12 at 14:33
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5 Answers 5

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Use your best judgment. I am not a lawyer, but I suspect that if you use reasonable care to ensure that the creator of the site actually has the rights to license you the images, you don't have to worry about legal concerns. If the site doesn't look shady and says that the textures are original to the site, it's unlikely that you'll get sued.

If you're especially concerned about covering your ass, perform careful documentation. Copy down the license text from the texture site as well as the source URL. If archive.org's Wayback Machine archives the site, you will be able to use it as proof that you acquired the texture in good faith.

As far as attribution goes, it's a good policy in general. Note that the attribution doesn't need to be obtrusive. Unless the content owner specifies a more draconian attribution format, you can just put a note in the credits like "concrete textures from cctextures.blah."

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Safe? No, in theory and in practice not even the ones that you pay are safe, the fact that this images are free or not tells you nothing about their copyright and most important of all, who is the copyright holder.

The real solution is more like a good suggestion: always mix and work with this textures in way that you will never use just 1 big texture alone. If you really need a complete big texture of something you better go out with your camera and take some pictures of the natures avoiding famouse places/buildings and private spaces.

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All "free" texture sites have terms of use and such that you can examine to see what they don't want you to do with them. Many don't want you making any money from the use of their images, especially if the site didn't charge for them.

If in doubt, email them and ask. The worst they can do is say no.

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A lot of sites have their own guidelines on how you use their work. I would assume it has a terms of service/usage guidelines on how you are permitted to use the content. A lot of the sites just prefer you don't use the content to make your own profits. If you really like something you see, trying to get in contact with the original creator might be a good idea.

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I'm no lawyer but for me there is a simple rule: don't use anything that don't have clearly stated information about copyright holder and usage license for particular material. Especially for the content that will be used commercially.

Also is a good idea to have written (via e-mail is enough I think) approval / permission for commercial usage. In worst case scenario, when get sued, there is a prove that this material was indeed received by xxx at yyy terms.

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