How to properly attribute Creative Commons-licensed images

Journalism students should avoid just grabbing pictures from Google searches and posting them on their blogs. By doing so, they would very likely create copyright problems for themselves. The best option is to use Creative Commons-licensed images. Let’s see, I want to find a picture of Western Illinois University from Creative Commons and post it to my blog. Here is what I would do:

Step 1: I would go to Creative Commons here and use the key word “Western Illinois University” to locate the picture I like. I would check Flickr because it is a very popular photo-sharing web service. I would also uncheck “use for commercial purpose” and “modify, adapt or build upon” to narrow down search results.

Step 2: When I find the photo I like, I would locate its license information and make sure I could use the photo for free. Write down the license number.

Step 3: Download the photo to your computer.

Step 4: Upload the picture to your blog.

Step 5: Attribute the picture correctly. (This is the most important step!) Usually, you should begin with the title of the picture, linked to the original Flickr page, then follow with author information linked to his or her profile page, finally Creative Commons license number linked to license deed.


Here is how I would attribute the above picture:

Western Illinois University” by Macomb Paynes is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Screenshots for the above steps:

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Screen shot 2015-02-16 at 5.28.03 PM

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Relevant web resources:

Best Practices for Creative Commons Image Attribution


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