Friday, October 26

How To Attribute Artwork Licensed Under The Creative Commons

How To Attribute Artwork Licensed Under The Creative Commons
"grulla" by Emre Ayaroglu used under the Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

What would a blog be without artwork? Boring!

But artwork, like blog posts, is copyrighted. Unless the copyright holder gives permission, their artwork is off limits.

Fortunately, a wonderful group of people have set up the Creative Commons and given artists an easy way to license their work so that it can be used, free of charge, as long as certain conditions are met.

How To Attribute Art That Has Been Licensed Under The Creative Commons

List the:

1. Name of the work (keep intact any copyright notices for the work)
2. List the author of the work (If it's not obvious, look for it)
3. List the license under which you are using the work.

It isn't strictly required, but it's nice and best practices to:

a) link to the page where the artist is displaying the work, to
b) link to the creator of the work (e.g., her Flickr page) and to
c) link to the web page that describes the license the artist released his/her work under.

Also, it's nice to let the artist know you've used their work and thank them for making it available.

Unsure whether your attribution is correct? Here's the advice of the folks over at the Creative Commons:
Ask yourself whether an interested viewer/reader/listener/other user is able to easily discern who gets credit (attribution) for the original work, and the freedoms associated with that work (license notice). If they can, great! If not, consider whether you are making a good faith effort to use the licensed work according to its terms. (Is Your Attribution Good Enough?)


Example 1: Attribution Only

Let's suppose we find a gorgeous work of art like "Morning Fog Emerging From Trees" by A Guy Taking Pictures on Flickr. How would we attribute it?

"Morning Fog Emerging From Trees" by A Guy Taking Pictures. CC BY 2.0

You can see my attribution in the caption under the picture. That's how I did it because I didn't have a lot of space. Here is another attribution which would be just as good:
"Morning Fog Emerging From Trees" by Flickr user A Guy Taking Pictures. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

Example 2: Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)

Here's a photo, "Playing with the ball 3", by the same artist I used in my first post today: Tambako the Jaguar. I love his work. The one I used this morning, "Roaring Lion" was under an Attribution Only license, but this one is Attribution No Derivatives.

No derivatives means if I wanted to tweak the oranges and blues in Photoshop I'd be out of luck. I can use it whole and complete, commercially or non-commercially, but it has to be attributed (of course!) and it has to be left unaltered.

"Playing with the ball 3" by Tambako the Jaguar under CC BY-ND 2.0

I did the attribution for Playing with the ball 3 a little different than Morning Fog Emerging From Trees, but this one contains the same information, it's a stylistic difference. Also, I was, again, trying to get all the necessary information into a small space.

If I had more room I would have done this:
"Playing with the ball 3" by Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivs 2.0.
(In the above I underlined where I would put the relevant links.)

Example 3: Attribution of an piece you altered

Sometimes I like to alter a photograph in a way that makes a certain color 'pop'. Or a photo might seem washed out and I want to make the colors more vivid.

Naturally I need to attribute the underlying work to the artist who created it but I also have to indicate that it has been altered. Additionally, even though I don't have to credit myself as being the one who altered it, it's probably a good idea.

I've looked for examples of how to do this but didn't find anything matching the situation, so this is my interpretation. In other words, I'm winging it! This is probably a good place to state that what I have written here in no way constitutes legal advice. I'm not a lawyer nor am I dating one. :-)

"~~LoVe nEvEr SToPs~~" by Vinoth Chandar altered by Karen Woodward
Both works CC BY 2.0

This is how I would word the attribution:
This work is based on "~~LoVe nEvEr SToPs~~" by "Vinoth Chandar" under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license. The above work is "Sapphire Night" by Karen Woodward and is also licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.
That's a mouthful! (Underlining indicates the relevant links) I don't have room to put all that in the caption so I am hoping my shorter version is fine:
"~~LoVe nEvEr SToPs~~" by Vinoth Chandar altered by Karen Woodward Both works CC BY 2.0

I wanted to put Vinoth Chandar's name first because all I did was make the water blue. If I had extensively altered Vinoth's photo I would likely have put my name first.

Clear as mud?

I don't want to lead anyone down the garden path so if you notice I've done something wrong, or you're wondering why I did something one way instead of another, please do leave a comment.

What the folks at Creative Commons say about proper attribution

I wanted to make available to everyone what the folks over at the Creative Commons have to say about proper attribution, but I didn't want to copy and paste it here. So I'll give you the link: Best Practices for Marking Content with CC Licenses.

The licenses available under a Creative Commons copyright

This page describes the various kinds of licenses available from the Creative Commons: About The Licenses. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see them.

Links: Places to get creative commons content

There are many places to get creative commons content, here are just a few:

- Flickr: Creative Commons
- Creative Commons Search
- FlickrStorm

I just found FlickrStorm and, hands down, I'm finding it the best, easiest way to search for creative commons content. Highly recommended!

- Want to display your licensing information as an image? Or make sure it's machine readable? Select your Creative Commons license here.

- A good article that discusses proper attribution is Best Practices for Creative Commons attributions - how to attribute works you reuse under a Creative Commons license.

Other articles you might like:
- Making A Scene: Using Conflicts And Setbacks To Create Narrative Drive
- NaNoWriMo: How To Reach Your Daily Wordcount
- Dialogue: 7 Ways of Adding Variety


Because of the number of bots leaving spam I had to prevent anonymous posting. My apologies. I do appreciate each and every comment.