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Creative Commons on Flickr

Images are an important part of any website or blog. Not only do they draw attention to your site but they also reemphasise what you are saying and can really help in getting your point across.

If you have a website or blog or are in the process of creating one, chances are at some point you will require images for it. For those who have already put in the research, you will know that stock photographs can sometimes be expensive or alternatively, not suitable for your needs. Randomly taking images from other websites may bring with it all kinds of issues in terms of copyright and ownership rights and is something in which we highly recommend you DO NOT do.

The other option which we particularly support is Flickr. Flickr, in their own words is “almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world”. Flickr’s photographs are taken by a mixture of professional and amateur photographers who are looking to share their art with the world.

Note however that some images on Flickr are tagged as “All Rights Reserved” which means that unless you seek permission to use these photographs for your own purpose, at which point it may prove to be extremely costly, it is best to use photographs which fall under the “Creative Commons” category.

Flickr itself states that “Creative Commons is a non-profit that offers an alternative to full copyright.”

There are six Creative Commons licenses that images on Flickr may adhere to.

Attribution License
An Attribution License lets you use photographs of others for both commercial and non-commercial use and gives you freedom to modify the image to suit your needs, as long as credit is given to the original photographer.

Attribution-NoDerivs License
An Attribution-NoDerivs License similarly allows the use of the image for both commercial and non-commercial use however you are not able to modify the image in any way. All credit must again be given to the photographer.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
An Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License means that you are not able to modify the image in any way and it can only be used for non-commercial purposes ie non-profit purposes. Full credit must also be given to the photographer.

Attribution-NonCommercial License
An Attribution-NonCommercial License does allow for modification of the image as long as credit is given to the original photographer; however it can only be used for non-commercial purposes.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
While you can amend the image for non-commercial use with credit to the photographer under this license, the ShareAlike addition means that you only allow others to reuse or distribute your work under the same terms. Flickr recommends linking directly to their License page.

Attribution-ShareAlike License
Lastly the Attribution-ShareAlike License allows you to use and amend the image for both commercial and non-commercial purposes with credit being given to the photographer. As above you can only allow others to reuse or distribute your work under a similar license. Again providing a link to the License page will make it easier for readers to understand.

For more information, visit the Creative Commons Licenses.

After you have determined the license you require, you can simply search within that Creative Commons category to find your choice images. Under each license you can see at a glance how many images are stored within that particular license. If you click on “see more” next to the image number, you will be taken to the search image page.

Once you have carried out your search you will be presented with a list of photographs. Note the images can be sorted by three categories: relevant, recent and interesting. It is worthwhile browsing under each category although if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, then interesting may be your category of choice!

You also have the option to view them in a variety of sizes: small, medium, detail and slideshow. Browsing in “small” initially will allow you to see more images per page determining more quickly which ones may be suitable for your needs.

Now you have a basic understanding of the license which best suits your requirements, finding great images to really enhance your website is extremely easy and most importantly, free. It is a win-win for everyone – your page gets an instant makeover via the use of a superior image and the photographer gets recognition from your credited link.

Bauhinia Solutions Flower

There are many ways we can assist you with your business administration or marketing needs. Feel free to schedule a call with Nicole and explore how we can support you.

Written by: Nicole Graham


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Established in 2007, Bauhinia Solutions is a boutique virtual business support agency with a team of dedicated and experienced business specialists, administrators, and virtual assistants.