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Finding and Attributing Images

Want to add some images to your portfolio? Here’s some information to help you find and attribute images.

Icon: Handy Tips

Online is not fair game

Copyright. It’s a bit of a scary word and copyright law can be difficult to understand. The key concept you need to remember when it comes to copyright is that just because something is freely available on the internet, it doesn’t mean you have the right to reproduce it.

Good Practice

As a learner, you need to model good practice when it comes to copyright and attribution, and that starts with your portfolio.

What content can I reproduce?

You can only reproduce other people’s work you have permission to do so. Permission may be either:

  • explicit (usually written) permission from the copyright holder
  • an appropriate license that has been applied to the content.

Since it’s often difficult and time consuming to get explicit permission from the copyright holder, we recommend you look for content that is appropriately licensed for reuse. Content should either be in the public domain or is licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons license.

Content in the public domain has no exclusive intellectual property rights, which means you can reuse it.

Creative Commons licenses allow content producers to share their work with others. The licenses provide a standardised way for content owners to indicate the conditions under which people may reuse or redistribute their content without infringing copyright. The licenses allow users to reuse, remix and share the content legally.

Learn more about Creative Commons licenses.

Why do I need to attribute works I reproduce?

Attributing other people’s work correctly is important because it:

  • gives appropriate credit to the people whose work you are reproducing
  • maintains academic integrity by honestly representing your work.

If you don’t have appropriate permission to reproduce a work or if you don’t attribute it correctly, you may infringe copyright, which may have legal consequences.

Where can I find images that I can reproduce on my portfolio?

CC Search is an aggregated search of common sources of Creative Commons licensed materials.

You can also just try a Google search for something like ‘how to find creative commons licensed images’ (obvious but effective!).

See below for a list of useful sites we use and recommend.

Attributing Images and Digital Media

The CC Wiki provides advice and examples of best practices for Creative Commons attribution.

In general, we recommend that you include the name of the work, the name of the creator, an indication of the type of Creative Commons license (or a statement that the image is in the public domain), and a link to the source.

Here’s an example of an image found on Flickr.

Copyright Iain by Iain Farrell (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Copyright Iain by Iain Farrell (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In this case, the title of the image is on Flickr and linked it to the image on Flickr. The creator’s name as it appears on the Flickr is also used. Added also under the image in the caption field is the shorthand for the type of Creative Commons license in brackets.

Do I have to attribute public domain content?

While it’s not strictly necessary to attribute public domain content, it is a good idea, for two main reasons:

  1. It acknowledges the person who created the work and gives them some credit for their creative effort.
  2. It allows the reader of your site to identify the copyright status of an image, which means that when your teacher grades your portfolio, they won’t be left wondering whether the images you’ve infringed copyright by reproducing images.

Here’s an example of an image found on Unsplash.

Photo by Umberto on Unsplash

Photo by Umberto on Unsplash

You don’t have to attribute images from Unsplash, however, the site encourages people to attribute and provides a recommended attribution, which you’ll be prompted to copy to the clipboard when you download the image. That’s what has been done for the image above: with the attribution pasted into the image caption.
Icon: Useful Links

Useful Links

Finding Digital Media

The following sites are usful for sourcing digital content for your Create@UniSQ Site:

  • FlatIcons – Free icons
  • The Noun Project – a great source for icons.
  • Flickr Creative Commons Search – Search Flickr, and then choose Creative Commons only from the Licenses dropdown menu to refine your results.
  • Pixabay – a repository of public domain pictures.
    Pixabay includes photos, videos, illustrations and even music. Licenses vary, so check the images or other content you’re using for the license conditions.
  • Unsplash – a repository of public domain pictures. Unsplash images are typically in the Public Domain and don’t require attribution, but attributing does acknowledge the creator and it’s a nice thing to do.
  • Vecteezy – Free Vector Art.
  • Wikimedia Commons – freely licensed images, sound files, and other media.
  • CC Search is an aggregated search of common sources of Creative Commons licensed materials.
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