One of the questions that people ask me, quite a lot in fact, is whether they can use images from the internet on their own websites. The short answer is no. Not without seeking and obtaining permission. The same is true for text, graphics and videos.
Of course some creators are happy for their work to be distributed and shared, perhaps in return for a link back or credit. But how can you be sure that this is the case? Many people are still unclear as to the rules and as a result a not-for-profit organisation in San Fransisco has made a number of licenses available to the public that are free of charge. Creative Commons licenses allow creators to specify which rights they reserve and which are waived.
The following video explains how this works.
Image sharing site Flickr is a great example of Creative Commons in use. At the bottom right of each page is a section called ‘Additional Information’. This states whether the image can be used and if so, how.
Of course some unscrupulous individuals will still upload images that don’t belong to them and pass them off as their own work. Therefore, a degree of common sense is needed.
If you’re in any doubt as to the source of the content, don’t use it. If you’re not sure about rights always seek permission.
Image courtesy of Opensourceway’s Flickr photo stream – www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/4371001458