Finding CC-licenced images

spray painted copyright symbol
Copyright! Photo: Horia Varlan/CC/Flickr

At #teamTAFE you’ll hear this over and over again: copyright matters! There are laws in place [pdf] to ensure we don’t just use whatever content we find online. Admittedly those laws are complex because they can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Many countries use their own copyright laws to determine whether or not a violation has occurred. You can read more about international copyright law here.

You should just assume you cannot steal borrow the wonderful stuff you find online.

Because the internet is such a visual medium, it’s always advisable to add images, illustrations, videos, and other visual elements to your posts.

We will normally advise you to take your own photos, or create your own graphics or videos, and use them.

But sometimes you can’t. Access may be an issue – maybe the subject of your story lives overseas, or doesn’t want to be photographed. They could be super high profile, so you can’t organise to meet and photograph them.

It’s REALLY important to understand that you cannot legally just perform a Google Image search and right click, save the best pic there. Don’t do it! But you can search for images and other content licenced under Creative Commons (thanks to wonderful people on the net who want to share their creations!) It’s a good idea to understand the different rules of each of the CC licences, so read them.

Crediting creators

Check out the caption attached to the pic at the top of this post. This is the way we’d recommend you credit the creator of the CC images you use, i.e. with the name of the person, a note that it’s Creative Commons (CC), and the source of the image. It’s very good manners to include a hyperlink to the page you downloaded the image from.

Now search

Below are a couple of short, sweet vids that explain how you find pics you can use legally. You can also licence and share your own work.

Using Google Image search
Using the Creative Commons search

There are also CC music archives and a filtered search on YouTube where you can find material for audio and video stories.

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