The Image Challenge. Copyright & For Attribution

Monday, 2 March 2015  |  Posted in: Articles  |  3min read

One of the challenges faced by content authors is choosing great images to feature in their website and online publications. While using an original or commissioned piece is ideal, most content authors may not have convenient access to such resources, or have the funding, or time, to commission their own works as part of their content marketing plan.

These circumstances have led to an increase in demand for free and paid stock imagery. However when it comes to free images this is not simply the case of selecting your preferred image off Google and assuming it was there for the taking. All of these images have creators or owners which have the right to legally protect their property, regardless of where, or how you found it.

Failing to correctly seek permission prior to use can have serious legal ramifications for your business. Luckily there are several different types of images that are available for commercial use that you can choose from. There are free images which are made available for use under certain Creative Commons licenses or alternatively you can purchase royalty-free licensed images.


The difference between Copyright and For Attribution

When it comes to selecting a piece of work to use, a basic understanding of the difference between Copyright and For Attribution is rather useful. Copyright is actually a number of rights held by the owner of a creative work. Under copyright laws only this person has the right to publish, perform or display the work publicly, and only this person can reproduce and distribute the work. If you do want to use a copyrighted piece of work it is always best practice to seek express, written permission from the copyright holder before use. Failure to get such permission may leave you open to legal action.

For attribution allows you to use a piece of work as long as you give credit to the author or creator. For attribution works are generally released under a Creative Commons licence by the author of the original work. There are different types of Creative Commons licences and they permit the free use of creative works but impose certain conditions that must be met and these conditions vary between licence types. Attribution licenses are the least restrictive and allow for commercial use as long as you appropriately credit the original author and image source.

Examples of how to attribute work properly can be seen here.


Where can I find an image?

While there are many online sources of free images offered under an attribution license, one of the more popular choices is Flickr. Simply search for the type of picture you want and refine your search by selecting “Commercial use allowed” under the “License” tab. Flickr also provides you with instructions on how to correctly attribute the work to the original author.

Your business may also purchase royalty-free stock images at websites like iStock by Getty Images. Stock photos are images that are ready for use in your blogs, website advertising and other publications. These images are covered by a standard Content License agreement that governs the appropriate use of the image, however you can also purchase Extended Licenses if the standard one doesn’t cover your needs.

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