Ask a blogger, a website owner, an advertising agency or a design firm and they will tell you how the creative commons license has come as a boon for them revolutionizing the way people share and use someone’s personal work especially images.
Flickr the image sharing tool by Yahoo has for the past few years given a platform for users to upload their pictures and allow others to use their pictures by giving a creative commons license.
The best thing about this license is that people all over the world can use the images without paying anything for them. That is a big change from the time when all images were subject to copyright and use of them without buying them legally or informing the owner led to serious legal disputes.
The main purpose of creative commons licenses is to allow the general distribution of copyrighted work. It is an alternative to full copyright but though the images with creative commons license are used mostly without any charges, there are basic set of differences between different types of these licenses.
As this article deals with Flickr images alone, here is an explanation of the different types of licenses.
Attribution License – If a Flickr image has this license it means the owner of the image has allowed you to copy, distribute, display and make changes to his image only with one condition. That condition is to give him credit for his work. Therefore whether you use the image for a website, or an ad you must credit that person.
Attribution No-Derivative Works License – This license means that you can copy, display, distribute the Flickr image but cannot make any changes to it. You also must attribute the owner of the image when you use his work.
Attribution-Non-Commerical No-Derivative Works License – As the name explains the image with this license can be copied, displayed and distributed but can not be altered in any way and also cannot be used for any commercial purposes. The owner has to be given credit for his work.
Attribution Non-Commercial License – The image can be displayed, copied and distributed and it can also be altered to suit your needs but it cannot be used for commercial purposes. Therefore you can pick a Flickr image, use it as you wish in a blog or to make a point during a presentation, but cannot use it to create an advertisement or a saleable poster out of it.
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License – The Flickr image with this license can be distributed and even altered or derivatives made out of it, but with the clause that even the altered versions must have a license same as the one which governs the original work. This kind of image also cannot be used commercially.
Attribution Share Alike License – Again the image can be copied, displayed and distributed. It can be used commercially and also can be altered. But the derivative of the original image must abide by the same license given by the original owner to the original image.
These are the different types of Creative Commons Licenses that Flickr users give to their work.
How to Attribute
The FLickr image owners who are allowing you to use their images in any ways you wish are not asking for money for their work but they do want that you give credit to them. That is why all variations of the creative commons license has one clause that is similar – the attribution.
The attribution can be best given by citing the authors name, screen name or user ID. Citing the title of the image and also mentioning clearly that it is a creative commons image.
Different people use different ways to give credit to an image like the following image can be credited by,
Flickr cc image Chrstmas 2007 by paparutzi
Flickr creative commons image by paparutzi
Christmas 2007 by paparutzi via cc Flickr
The credit can be placed directly below the image or can be given in the end of the article or the web post.
Flickr also states a very important rule that many users neglect many a times. This new rule states that any image that is taken from Flickr can be displayed in any other website but it should have a live link that goes back to the Flickr page.
Therefore, just attribution of a Flickr image is not enough, you should create the attributions in such a way that when someone clicks on the link, he can see the Flickr page for the image.
It can be done like this,
Flickr cc image Christmas 2007 by paparutzi
Flickr cc image Christmas 2007 by paparutzi
The creative commons license is governed under the applicable copyright laws and it can be given to any copyright work like a play, a song, music, story, poetry, books, movies, websites, blogs and of course images.
Flickr’s creative commons can be reached through the following link,
It is definitely a wonderful way of appreciating and using a person’s work who might be sitting in the remotest corner of the world.
So whether you need the picture of an Eskimo and his igloo, the amazing animals of the amazon forest, an apple pie just out of the oven or a person sleeping at work, everything is possible in the Flickr creativecommons world. A world absolutely free and at your disposal just a click away.