Most photographs that you find online are copyrighted. You have to pay to use them, or in some cases, they’re completely off-limits to anyone except the owner. There are some that are deemed “public domain,” which means they’re unlicensed and free to use, and many people take advantage of these stock photos for creative projects, ads, or articles like this one.
Celebrity photographs are almost always off-limits, though, but sometimes mistakes are made.
In this case, an image of actor B.J. Novak – you probably know him from The Office – accidentally went up as part of the public domain, and brands in Sweden, Uruguay, and the United States were swift to jump on the error.
They’ve used this one particular stock photo for products that run the gamut, and we’ve got a few examples below.
Like this multicolored face painting kit.
And this Nordic cologne.
Let’s not forget these rechargeable hair clippers – very useful.
And everyone needs a good razor!
In case you’re wondering, yes, Novak is well-aware of the slip-up and the ensuing use of his image.
“Years ago, someone mistakenly put an image of me on a public domain site, and now apparently I am on products all around the world.”
The images remain free and available for both personal and commercial use, and as for Novak, he doesn’t really plan to do anything about it – mainly because he’s “too amused” to ask that the picture be removed.
Which, I mean. I think we all owe him a bit of a thank you for that, right?
If a picture of you was in the public domain would you laugh about it or demand it be removed? Tell us your thoughts on the matter in the comments!