How To Search & Credit Properly-Licensed Photos On Flickr [Firefox]

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how to credit photosFlickr is an amazing resource of creative images. It’s always been the main source of inspiration to me.

I once listed some awesome Flickr search tools that are HUGE fun to use and Nancy did a great job explaining how to upload and use Flickr photos the easy way.

This post takes a bit different focus: it attempts to make it clearer for everyone which Flickr photos they are allowed to re-use and how to easily find and credit them. Anyone who has a blog may have used images published on Flickr but not everyone knows how to properly do that.


You are only permitted to use images under Creative Commons with appropriate license.

The most common Creative Commons licenses you may see on Flickr are:

Note aside: You can read more about various licenses here, also you can hopefully understand what can and should be understood as “noncommercial” by joining the discussion here.

License/ Allowed: Icon Publish Modify Credit
Attribution-NoDerivs License Attribution LicenseAttribution-NoDerivs License Yes (even for commercial use) No Yes (Required)
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License flickr Attribution LicenseAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License Yes (not commercial) No Yes (Required)
Attribution-ShareAlike License flickr Attribution LicenseAttribution-ShareAlike License Yes (even for commercial use) Yes Yes (Required)

Now, with that in mind, let’s see how we can easily find and use properly-licensed images on Flickr:

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1. Flickr Creative Commons Search On FireFox

1. Flickr CC (Most Interesting) (Small Thumbnails)

This search plugin by Callum MacDonald:

  • Searches through Flickr Creative Commons-licensed content,
  • Sorts images by “Most Interesting”
  • Forces Flickr to display small thumbnails for you to easier scroll through the search results.

Install the search plugin here

how to credit photos

Results may be not exactly on topic (compared to sorted by relevant ones) but this search will work nicely to help you brainstorm and get you inspired.

2. Flickr CC BY Search

This one is a similar version to the above search plugin (it also forces small thumbnails and filters by Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution) but for a couple of essential differences:

  • It sorts by relevancy;
  • It is enhanced with search suggestions (powered by Google).

Install the search plugin here

how to credit photographers

This one will inspire you first by showing the related searches (which may expand your search) and then listing you small thumbnails of related images you can use on your site.

Flickr Creative Commons – Attribution Help

So we have that handy HTML code generated by Flickr that allows to quickly embed a Flickr-hosted image on any page (in any of available sizes).

how to credit photographers

However Creative Commons Attribution requires that images be credited the way the author prefers them to be and normally a person would like to be mentioned as the image creator. Besides, giving a credit to the image author is just polite.

Moreover, you often want to host the image locally – and that hosted code is pretty much useless in that case.

This handy Greasemonkey script will help you quickly grab the attribution HTML code: it will generate the proper credit HTML for you to quickly copy it to your page:

how to credit photographers

When added to a page, this will look the following way:

how to credit photos

I am sure, as a blogger and / or active web surfer, you have lots of your own tricks and tips on finding and re-publishing awesome Flickr photos. It would be great to share some of them in the comments!

Post image by openDemocracy

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12 Comments - Write a Comment

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Athul Jayaram

This is just for Firefox users. Is there any extension for Google Chrome users?

Ann Smarty

I am not sure as I am no heavy Chrome user but I guess (some) Greasemonkey plugins can be installed here.

Instead of the search plugins, you can use this web-based tool: http://www.compfight.com/

Athul Jayaram

Thank you Ann :)

I knew that site before :P

Reply

Ann Smarty

I am not sure as I am no heavy Chrome user but I guess (some) Greasemonkey plugins can be installed here.

Instead of the search plugins, you can use this web-based tool: http://www.compfight.com/

Reply

Athul Jayaram

Thank you Ann :)

I knew that site before :P

Reply

Marita

Hi Ann, your attribution technique is great – the only problem I have with Flickr is that people change their licenses. When they change it to a no license or a lesser license it makes a blogger look bad. Any ideas to track the different licenses used?

Ann Smarty

Good question. I have never come a problem like this.

My first guess is, if you link to the license when citing the sources, it becomes clear the image had that license at the time you were grabbing it…

Marita

Hi Ann, You would think so, but that leaves room for interpretation. We recently got hit with a copyright infringement claim because we had used such an image. There was no way for us to track or prove when the image changed from ‘ok to share’ to ‘no license’.

I think the way we all have been sharing and using images on the web is drastically changing. I’ve noticed that a large images rights company has been buying some of the smaller free sharing sites. I think images will become even bigger business on the web and at the same time a gamble for all those who post ‘free images’ on their sites.

Reply

Ann Smarty

Good question. I have never come a problem like this.

My first guess is, if you link to the license when citing the sources, it becomes clear the image had that license at the time you were grabbing it…

Reply

Marita

Hi Ann, You would think so, but that leaves room for interpretation. We recently got hit with a copyright infringement claim because we had used such an image. There was no way for us to track or prove when the image changed from ‘ok to share’ to ‘no license’.

I think the way we all have been sharing and using images on the web is drastically changing. I’ve noticed that a large images rights company has been buying some of the smaller free sharing sites. I think images will become even bigger business on the web and at the same time a gamble for all those who post ‘free images’ on their sites.

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