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Bye-bye Office clip art — hello fine print

Have you heard? Office.com Clip Art and image library is gone. You may still find clip art on your computer bundled with a legacy version of Microsoft Office, but photos now appear courtesy of Bing Image Search. Great? Hmmm...

Ho, ho, hold on. Let's read the fine print.

The truth is, when you select Insert > Clip Art in Word or Power Point and search including Office.com content, the results match a Bing.com search for images that are "Free to share and use commercially." Many are from websites with blanket Creative Commons (CC) licenses, which (in practice) may include copyrighted images that are not covered by the CC license at all. Bing supplies the images based on the assumption that everyone on the Internet understands and complies with copyright law. (Ho, ho, ho! Let's all have a hearty laugh about that.)

Now, wipe away those tears. There are still plenty of ways to find clip art and photos (including Bing, if you like) if you do your due diligence. Look for a license and follow what it says (including attribution if required). When in doubt, make an educated judgment, request permission, or simply find a different image. Merry image searching to all, and to all a good night!

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