Creative Commons: Source It Right!

Source: How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter
Source: How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter

When it comes to building your online presence, successful sites have rich multi-media content filled with images and video. The establishment of Creative Commons opened up many doors for access to work to spruce up your site.

What is Creative Commons?

CC is actually a non-profit organization, with the mission to enable the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. They use simple copyright licenses for creators to give the public person to use their work.  They aren’t an alternative to copyrights, but work with copyright terms.  The most important part when it comes to using CC is attribution; you need to give credit where it is due. This work is not public domain. Just because it is easily accessible does not mean it is free to use. For a more detailed explanation on copyrights, check out “Understanding Copyrights.”

When something has a CC license, it is obvious; you will see the logo or an apparent note about the licensing information.

Sites like Flickr have a tool to sort images by license, including commercial use and whether or not you can modify the photo.

You’ll find all the information you need right below the photo.

This will take you to the CC license page, which will detail what you can do with the photo and under what terms.

In this example, you can share and adapt the photo but you must give credit.

How To Properly Attribute

How do you give credit? Under the image you have chosen you must:

  • Link to the original page it came from
  • Have the photographer name linked to their page
  • Creative Commons link to license

Here is an example image with links:

Photo By: Kevin Dooley/CC by
Photo: Flickr/ Kevin DooleyCC by

People can adjust the source style to fit their sites, like having a clickable CC logo to the license page. This is fine as long as you can give the original source, original creator, and the CC license. Make sure it’s easy to get to the right places and that the links work. Pay attention to those little logos! They indicate the type of CC license the photo has.

Source: How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter
Source: How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter
Source: How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter
Source: How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter

If you need a little extra help, there is a great application called Open Attribute. It makes your sourcing as easy as copying and pasting for CC licensed material. open-attribute-smallHow it exactly works is the “tools will query the metadata around a CC-licensed object and produce a properly formatted attribution that users can copy and paste wherever they need to.”

To see more affiliates within the Creative Commons network, check here.

Screenshots from Flickr

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  1. It’s very simple to find out any matter on net as compared to books, as I found this piece of writing at this site.

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Written by Desiree Armstrong

Desiree is a Writing, Business and Film graduate from the University of Victoria. She received an Award of Distinction from the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business upon graduation. All through her studies, she worked for UVic Corporate Relations as a Brand Ambassador and was the Director of the non-profit dance company Victoria Dance Theatre. While living in Montreal, she was the Promotions & Marketing Manager for the band Tofu Stravinsky. Now living in Vancouver, Desiree is working as the Marketing Coordinator of NativesAds. Her social media skills are topnotch and she is also a writer with a diverse range from lifestyle & entertainment to advertising & marketing. Additionally, she’s an avid dancer, who loves to take the stage and entertain a crowd.