At one point in time, we’ve all needed an image for either a presentation, a course website – or for something like this, a blog post – and the first thing that comes to mind is to just grab one out of a Google search. The majority of these images are copyrighted “All Rights Reserved” and you’re obliged to get written permission to use such works. If you don’t obtain permission, you’re offending someone’s copyright and exposing yourself and the organisation you’re working for, to legal action. Here’s a range of things that could happen. For more information, refer to the Australian Copyright Act 1968 and the terms and conditions of a website you’re using.
So what do I use instead? The answer is images with Creative Commons licences.
So what is a Creative Commons license and how can we use it?
As per Wikipedia, a Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work [images, video, text, audio, illustration, etc]. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created. CC provides an author flexibility and protects the people who use or redistribute an author’s work from concerns of copyright infringement as long as they abide by the conditions that are specified in the license by which the author distributes the work.
Creative Commons work are free to use as long as you correctly use the licences below:
As you can see, the most flexible licenses are CC-0, CC BY and CC SA. Non commercial and no derivative restrictions are problematic in the educational context.
We tend to stick with CC BY. When using Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) Images, you should attribute the image source as the source specifies. If that specification is not obvious, then follow this example:
“Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco” by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Notice the hyperlinks back to the source?