They claim to provide photos for universal use under a perpetual no-royalty no-attribution license.

From https://unsplash.com/license

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.

Does this constitute a valid license ?

How, if challenged, can I use it to prove that I'm using a given photo downloaded from unsplash under license if the photo was later removed or the service was shut down ?

2 Answers 2


You might be able to use a site like the Internet Archive to preserve the TOC even after the site is shut down.

The real liability trap here is if the site does not have the authority to give you this license. If a user uploads a photo that they do not own, and you use it, you are infringing the copyright of the original owner. Innocent infringement is not a defense to liability (although it may reduce damages in some cases.)


The main danger is indeed that a person illegally uploads someone else's photo. The license is frequently "snapshotted" on the Wayback machine. However, there is no master catalogue that is archived. If you retain the photo URL (e.g. https://unsplash.com/photos/aZXF3Uf9DYk), it may be retained in Google's cache. Or, if you are concerned, take a screen shot of the download page. If the photo was legally uploaded, this would be evidence that the copying was with permission. Not irrefutable certainty type proof, but you just need a preponderance of evidence that you had permission.

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