Whether you are writing a book or a piece of blog content, you might run into an opportunity to use a photo as a visual aid. However, you can quickly get into legal trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing.
There is no need to worry. In this guide, you will learn:
- What is Creative Commons
- How to attribute Creative Commons photos correctly
- What types of licenses exist
Let’s get started with this detailed infographic. You can read more about everything below.
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation created to overcome legal issues of sharing, using and editing copyrighted work. It’s a system through which content creators can give copyright permission for their creative and academic works. They can set their conditions to define how you can use and distribute images, videos and other content they created.
What is a Creative Commons (CC) License?
Creative Commons (CC) licenses enable content creators of all sizes to allow others to use their creative work under copyright law. It’s a set of standardised rules that will show you precisely what you can and can’t do.
Every license allows you to copy, distribute, showcase the work and convert it into different formats. Additionally, each one applies worldwide, for as long as the work’s copyright lasts.
Let’s keep reading to understand the differences between CC licenses.
What Types of CC Licenses Are There?
They differ in conditions under which you can use creative work. More precisely, there are four conditions to keep in mind:
- Attribution (BY) – you have to give credit to the author. This condition applies to all licenses.
- Share Alike (SA) – you must follow the same terms to share any adaptions.
- Non-Commercial (NC) – only non-commercial use allowed.
- No Derivative (ND) – you cannot create any edited versions of the work.
Now it is simple to understand the different variations that exist. Each license is a simple combination of the conditions we explained. There is a total of seven license types that you should know:
- CC BY
- CC BY-SA
- CC BY-NC
- CC BY-NC-SA
- CC BY-ND
- CC BY-NC-ND
- CC0 (or CC Zero) is a license in which the creator gives away the entire copyright and put their work into the public domain.
Now let’s answer the big question.
How to Attribute Creative Commons Photos?
You should follow the TASL model, which means that your attribution should include four pieces of information:
- Title – the title of the image
- Author – the creator of the image, with a link to their profile page
- Source – the original URL of the photo
- License – the type of Creative Commons (CC) license, with a link to the license deed
Here is an example of how to attribute Creative Commons photos following the rules that we explained:
Suppose you are interested in a specific detail regarding the attribution. In that case, you can take a look at this guide created by Creative Commons.
Creative Commons Photo Attribution | FAQs
#1 I can’t find the full name of the creator. What should I do?
It’s not ideal, but you can use their username/handle if their full name is not available. The golden rule is – if there is any doubt, try to contact the author.
#2 What should I do if there are multiple creators?
It’s easy – make sure that everyone is listed.
#3 How can I find Creative Commons photos to use?
Just do a simple Google or Flickr search. Make sure to find all the needed information before using the image. You can do this by tracing the photo back to its source.
If you don’t have any information about the license, you should contact the photo author. However, if that’s not possible, you should avoid using the image altogether.
#5 What happens if I modify the image?
For images under the CC licenses which allow modifications, you should note how you modified the photo in your attribution, and you are good to go.
Hopefully, we have covered everything there is to know about attributing a Creative Commons photo.
Now we would like to hear what you have to say:
Have you ever gotten into trouble for not attributing a photo properly?
Let us know by leaving a comment below right now.