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How to Safely Use Photos from Flickr

Flickr can be a great place to find photos that are relevant to your content and provide a lot of value to your readers. Unfortunately, if you don't correctly attribute photos (and make sure they are licensed correctly for third party use) you can get into legal trouble.

Licensing

The first thing you want to check when reusing a picture from Flickr for your blog post is to verify the licensing on the photo. Information on the different licenses found on Flickr can be found here.

To see the license for a photo you are viewing, look right below the right hand corner.

Flickr Attribution Location

Always click on the link where you can get the full information about the license. The rest of this post will be dedicated to attribution which is needed on most of the licenses. But be careful, there are some licenses that don't allow third-party use without legal consent of the original author so always do you homework so you don't end up in hot water.

Attribution

Creative Commons provides free and simple copyright licenses and a lot of the images that you will find online available for use will have a CC license attached. Creative Commons licenses are great because there is a lot of information on how to legally use photos that use their licenses.

There are a few main guidelines you need to follow when attributing photos with CC licenses:

  • Keep original copyright notices for the photo
  • Credit the author, licensor, and/or other parties in the manner they specify
  • Include the title of the work
  • Include the URL if applicable
  • If you have changed the work you need to explicitly mention you have changed it.

Examples

Photo Attribution Example

Seattle flickr photo by CheWei C. shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

License Information

Seattle Attribution License Example

Tools

There is a great tool that makes this a 1-click operation. Check out Flickr Attribution Helper. It is a bookmarklet that you can add to your browser and when you find a photo you like it will create an easy-to-use html string that you can add as a caption to your photo.

This tool won't tell you if you are allowed to use the photo. You need to double check the license the photo is released under to be safe.

Have any more questions? Comments? Did we miss something? Comment below to keep the discussion going!

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