Can Two Artists Upload the Same Free Stock Image on Redbubble?

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Miroslav Novohradsky
Founder of NechEmpire

I'm Miroslav, a passionate graphic designer, Etsy seller and AI enthusiast. At NechEmpire, I'm here to share my knowledge and skills. I want to turn...Read more

Redbubble is an online community where artists can create and sell their own designs on t-shirts, phone cases, stickers, posters, and more.

Artists can upload their own work or choose from thousands of free stock images. The problem is that the same image may be used by different artists who are not aware of each other’s work.

In this article, I want to explore what can happen when two artists upload the same free stock image on Redbubble.

What is Considered Duplicate Content on Redbubble

Same Free Stock Image on Redbubble

Redbubble is a marketplace for artists to sell their art and the site uses a unique algorithm that determines what is considered duplicate content.

When a new design is uploaded, it’s immediately scanned against all existing designs on the site to find duplicates.

It’s just a routine check and if you pass it, it doesn’t mean your design is fine.

As if the basic scanning methods for finding duplicate images weren’t enough, Redbubble can also scan for images with an identical URL, title, and alt.

That, of course, is not all.

Redbubble is using various techniques to determine if the uploaded work is against their content guidelines.

What Are Free Stock Images and Can I Use Them on my Designs on Redbubble

Free stock images are pictures that are available for commercial use. They are usually licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license which means that they can be used on any project without attribution.

These images can be taken and edited to fit any project. Free stock photos can also be used on blogs, websites, social media posts, and more.

Yes, you can use them on your designs and products on Redbubble and you don’t need to worry about licensing.

With so many people using websites like Pexels, Pixabay, or Unsplash, which are platforms full of free stock images, these images are used all over the internet on various websites, social media posts, or other projects.

And of course, there are people who are uploading free stock images on Redbubble to make quick money.

Should You Upload Free Stock Image on Redbubble

This section will be about whether you should upload free stock images on Redbubble.

The answer to this question is no. You should not upload free stock images on Redbubble even if they are images available for commercial use.

The reason for this is that on Redbubble are people who are using these images and put them on different products and when you upload the same stock image as someone else, then it is considered duplicated content.

What is worse, the person who uploaded the free stock image first can report your design and Redbubble will remove it from your portfolio.

Although it sounds weird, because you both are using the same free stock image that is available for commercial use, the person who uploads it first has in the Redbubble eyes a greater right of use.

Why You Need to Make Some Changes to Free Stock Image

Stock photos are the backbone of many businesses. They are used for blogs, social media posts, advertisements, e-commerce sites, and more.

The problem with these photos is that they are often overused by brands.

This is because they are affordable and easy to find on the internet. Unfortunately, this can cause an array of problems including diluting your branding strategy and limiting your creativity in content creation.

If you for some reason want to use stock image with free commercial use, then always make some changes. Change color, add an element, add a text, and so on.

You need to stay safe.

The common practice used by many designers is to add text to the stock image. This creates unique art and you are the owner of it.


Stock images are everywhere we go, we see them on the sides of websites, in the advertisements and sometimes we even see them as a profile picture.

Stock images can be tricky to edit, but they can be done.

It’s not as difficult as you might think to find stock photos that are free to use as long as they don’t have a watermark or an author’s credit.

If you found something interesting enough and you decided it to use on Redbubble then definitely make some changes to it.

For example, add another element, change colors or add text or slogan.

This creates a unique artwork and it can be used on any print-on-demand platform without fear of copyright infringement.

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Here Are Some of My Favorite Tools For Print-on-demand

As a graphic designer and POD seller, I’ve had the opportunity to discover different helpful products and tools that can be time-saving and make the process of creating your designs a bit smoother.

DESIGNS: Kittl (best for t-shirt designs), Vexels (for professional designs), Placeit (for unique product mockups)

AI IMAGE GENERATOR: Leonardo (best free account)

GRAPHICS: Creative Fabrica (cheapest marketplace), Envato Elements (more variety)

SELLING DESIGNS: Freepik (for beginners), Creative Fabrica (for advanced graphic designers)

SELLING LOW-CONTENT BOOKS Book Bolt (budget option)


Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, NechEmpire may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Personal picutre
Miroslav NovohradskyFounder of NechEmpire

I'm Miroslav, a passionate graphic designer, Etsy seller and AI enthusiast. At NechEmpire, I'm here to share my knowledge and skills. I want to turn your design passion into a successful online business.

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