You may have probably also come across a zillion blogs which emphasize the risks of using copyrighted images, and spark endless debates on ensuing legal implications; yet again I am in total agreement about the dangers they profess.
If you have good internet search skills, you may have succeeded in getting past a lot of muck which focus more on the problem than the solution; if so, you may have unearthed few select blogs which combine the aforementioned situations and present robust solutions – outlining the best ways to acquire legal images for your own blog. Given that I had thoroughly scoured the net when setting up my own blog, I must warn you that there are very few which can present a solution with utmost clarity.
If you have identified such blogs, and are now introduced to a few foolproof options of beautifying your site without any copyright hassles, you may question the requirement of these words I am spouting now. In a nutshell, this article is for people like me, who want to have the best, with minimum of hassle – for those who may not be the brightest technically, and like having their breakfasts served in bed. I am not going to suggest a plethora of options. I am going to write about the best option currently available, in my opinion, and lay out a step-by-step procedure of going about it.
First of all, the universe I will be relying on for securing images will be Flickr (no prizes for guessing that). I will assume that you require the images for a commercial website (if you don’t, it will still be a subset of my solution). Without further delay, here come the steps I have been promising:
Step 1: Go to the Flickr website, and type in the keyword for the image you are seeking, in the search-box on the top right; a host of images will be immediately thrown up.
Step 2: Just above the images, you will notice three parameters – Sort, Search and License, with respective dropdowns. Go to the License parameter and select the following option from the dropdown – ‘Commercial Use Allowed’ within ‘Creative Commons Only’. You will immediately notice a reduction in the number of images – the two-fold good news is that, unless you are searching for an extremely niche image category, there will still be several images to choose from, AND all of these images are 100% usable on your commercial website.
Step 3: Browse through the images and click on the one you deem most appropriate for your content, thereby opening it on a new page.
Before, going to Step 4, I will take a digression and introduce you to the magic wand which has made my life easier.
ImageCodr is a free online tool which simplifies the ONE thing you need to accurately ensure while using images (permitted for commercial use) from Creative Commons – attribution.
Under the Creative Commons license, Attribution is defined as: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
Therefore, for an image you do not intend to modify, there are two things which need to be done to be in accordance with the attribution rules prescribed:
First: Give appropriate credit – this can be done by mentioning the user name of the image uploader, and linking the image back to the original page from where you picked it.
Second: Provide a link to the license – Creative Commons licenses are bracketed under various categories, and the image on your website must include a link which redirects to the exact license under which the image was shared by the original uploader.
Both tasks can be completed manually, but if you are a newbie at this, technically challenged like yours truly, or just plain lazy, ImageCodr comes as a boon for providing easy, accurate attribution.
Now, getting back to the Steps:
Step 4: Go to www.imagecodr.org and click on the ‘Get code!’ option in the navigation bar.
Scroll down a bit and you see what we have been striving for thus far – a box with the title: Your HTML code, which changes on the basis of the image size you require for the post.
Step 7: Paste it on your page.
Step 8: Sit back and admire the fact that all details have been take care of – a CC logo, which links back to the licensing terms, user name of the original uploader linking back to their Flickr page, and a link back of the image to the original Flickr image page. Compare this with the Creative Commons Attribution requirement – pretty much takes care of everything, doesn’t it?
Besides convenience, ImageCodr, in my opinion, creates a line of defence against perhaps the only risk involved in using a Creative Commons commercially usable image. The risk is that, Flickr allows the original user to change licensing rights at any point in time, and there is no way to prove what the licensing was when you initially downloaded the image. For example, when you downloaded the image, the license may have allowed commercial use, and you could happily use it on your commercial website. However, anytime after you used that image, if the original uploader changes the license rights (Oh yes, Flickr allows users to change licensing rights at the click of a button) to non-commercial, he could question the use of his image on your commercial website, and you may not have many options to defend your case.
Since ImageCodr automatically generates the ‘CC’ logo which redirects to the license, it is in a way, a time-stamp stating that when you embedded the image, the license permitted commercial use. In case of manual addition, there could always be the allegation that the license link could have been added from any other source; impossible in the case of an ImageCodr generated code, because the image and the license are integral to each other.
Thereby concludes my quest of introducing you to the safest, most convenient and accurate method of adding images to your blog/website I am aware of (if you are not clicking your own images). Happy blogging…and stay copyright safe!!