A good content maker uses images to enhance their story, whether they are their own or not. They will always consider copyright and Creative Commons when using an image that is not their own.

 keyboard black hand

There are times as a content maker when for one reason or another you can't take that winning shot yourself and will need to source it elsewhere. Before you jump on Google Images to find that complimentary image for your story, take a moment to consider copyright and Creative Commons.

It is against the law to use someone else's photo in a way they did not intend or without their permission. There are laws in place however that allow content makers to use other people's photos as long as the right precautions are taken. As a rule of thumb, you should always assume that all photos on the internet are copyright protected. The penalty for Copyright breach in Australia is serious - it's the law. We're talking hefty fines and even imprisonment in serious cases like this one.

What is copyright and creative commons?
In a nutshell, copyright is an umbrella law that protects creators of original content whether it be music, photography, art and/or other original and creative ventures. Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation which gives out free licenses and resources to copyright owners that they can use to let others share, reuse and remix their material legally.

So why do people release under a Creative Commons license if it means their work can be used by anyone? Because it makes it clear to people like you and me what we can and cannot do with their material. There are six types of Creative Commons licences which allow material to be used in different ways. Having said this, each type has a core condition called "the Attribution condition" which makes it a requirement that the author of the work is attributed. Icons depicting the 6 types of Creative Commons licenses. 

 creative commons 783531 640The six types of creative commons licenses | Pixabay

How do I know if an image is under Creative Commons?
There are a lot of photos on the internet so it might be hard to decipher which photos are under Creative Commons. Luckily, the organisation has a foolproof way of finding material you can safely use in your story (as long as you attribute of course!).

All you have to do is type in what you want to find in their search engine and choose which supplementary search engine you would like to find images through. It filters out all the images that aren’t under Creative Commons and leaves you with ones you can safely use in your story. You still need to credit the author (person who originally took or posted the photo).

Have a go at looking up some images through Creative Commons

I just found the image I want to use and it is under Creative Commons - how do I attribute the photo to the original author?
See the image above? It was taken by someone and uploaded on to Pixabay under a creative commons license that allows us to crop it and use it on our website. With this type of license, we aren't required to attribute the photo to the author but are asked to link the picture to the website it was taken from. To credit the author, you write "Photo credit: Pixabay (license)" making sure you link to the type of creative commons license that the image is under. Usually websites with Creative Commons images available will have a feature that helps you properly credit the author. 

Resources
The official Creative Commons website
The six types of Creative Commons licenses explained
This article explains Creative Commons in more detail 
An official Australian Government document on copyright 
PhotoPin is a website with Creative Commons images free for you to use

You may also be interested in these articles

4112788560 246568ce02 b

Tell A Story Using Photos

in Photos
Using photos and audio together is an effective way to tell a story. The following article provides some of the basics for creative photo stories at your radio station. Photo stories, audio slideshows or pictorial audio stories are all the same way of describing a story that is told using a combination of images and audio whilst thinking of the audio and images complementing each other. They mix…
girl face

Storytelling portraits

in Photos
Photo via Unsplash It might sound cliché but strong photos of your subjects can help your story really hit home for your audience. There are a few easy things to get right if you want to take a good portrait. The key is a clean simple background, natural light and plenty of shots. If you set your subject up in a familiar space to them that is not too busy and that has natural light, you are far…
GDI3951

Photo editing tips and tricks

in Photos
Photo editing is equally as important as the skill of photography itself. A content maker should be good at both. Using basic photographic techniques to take a photo | CMTO Knowing how to edit a photo is just as important as knowing how to take a good photo. If you possess the skill to edit a photograph, you will find it a lot less daunting. Once you have gone through all the photos you have…
hands smartphone taking photo festival

Taking killer photos using your smartphone

in Photos
Journalists are expected more and more to act as autonymous agents, combining roles of photographer, videographer and sound recorder. Using your smartphone to take photos saves a lot of money and time. Smartphones are great for content making because they are portable | Splitshire The pros and cons of smartphone photographyThere are perks and drawbacks of using a smartphone to take photos for…
gavel01 lg

Laws about taking photos of people

in Photos
Content makers have a responsibility to act ethically and lawfully in their practice - this extends to when they are taking photos of people There are lawful ways of taking photos of people | Picserver The question of privacy in a digital ageBefore the age of the internet and social media, information did not have to be protected as much as it does now. Once a photograph makes its way on to the…
building on fire

Using photos taken from social media

in Photos
Copyright law extends to social media so you should think about the consequences of unlawfuly using a photo that someone has uploaded onto their social media page Think about how you would feel if you were on your way home from work and took a photo of an office fire, asking your Facebook followers if they knew anything about what was happening. By the time you get home that evening that same…
keyboard black hand

Using photos, copyright and creative commons

in Photos
A good content maker uses images to enhance their story, whether they are their own or not. They will always consider copyright and Creative Commons when using an image that is not their own. There are times as a content maker when for one reason or another you can't take that winning shot yourself and will need to source it elsewhere. Before you jump on Google Images to find that complimentary…