Images & ©

I got to take a wonderful course this week from Meredith Kahn and Kristina Eden (both of MPublishing), Copyright Nuts and Bolts, specifically focused on copyright and images.

Since I think blog posts are better with images, this is a topic near and dear to my heart, so I thought I’d share some best practices and lessons/tips from the course.

[Obligatory disclaimer: This post should just serve as a guideline – NOT LEGAL ADVICE – should you have nitpicky questions, it is safest to contact those in the know, like the Copyright Office, who can connect you to a lawyer if necessary.]

Let’s say you found an image on Flickr that you’d like to use in your blog. While there aren’t exactly citing conventions (such as an APA or MLA format) for these, your image should have the following information:

  • a credit to the author – if the author indicates a preferred format, you should respect their wishes and follow it.
  • title of the work.
  • URL for the work if applicable – in a blog you can hyperlink this, but if you’re going to be printing this, like a PowerPoint slide deck, you should include the full URL.
  • copyright notice or licensing information – if this is Creative Commons, you can include the license image or the shorthand (see example below).
“Election 2012” by League of Women Voters of California © 2012 CC BY 2.0

You can see in the example to the left that I have the title of the work in quotes, the creator of the content (which is also hyperlinked to the organization’s Flickr account), the date of the photo and the licensing information – which in this case is a Creative Commons attribution (BY) 2.0 license. I like to hyperlink to the license too – it isn’t required but it just one extra step down the path of less ambiguity, so why not?

Think of the image caption like you would a citation in your book or scholarly publication – you want to give your reader the best chance to tracking down your source, so the more information, the better.

Alright, so now you know how to properly attribute your images – but where do you find them? The library has developed a phenomenal images guide (including an entire section on medical images). My personal favorite of late has been Flickr’s Advanced Search, because you can limit your search to only return items that are licensed under Creative Commons terms – so there’s no confusion about copyright!

If you find yourself doing this frequently, there are even some browser add-ons that can help!

Two that Kristina pointed out were:

  • OpenAttribute, which generates text for CC-licensed Flickr photos that you can copy and paste, and
  • ImageCodr, which generates HTML, also for Flickr CC-licensed images.

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