Understanding the Creative Commons License


Just yesterday I posted an entry entitled “Using Images On Your Blog Post” and in the entry I mentioned the Creative Commons License.  Today, I’ll expand upon this licensing scheme and explain what it is.

In the “old days” when copyright infringement was rampant on the web (it probably still is) people took images from anywhere and would use them.  However today, there are many ways to protect text, images, audio and video and it is no longer acceptable to just take an image.  As well as the search engines have improved their algorithm they have placed heavy weighting on in-bound links.  The more inbound links a site has with specific keywords, the site in question sees an increase in their search engine ranking.  Of course, inbound links are only one item that your site should be optimized for…

But we’re not discussing SEO techniques, but learning more about the Creative Commons License and how it works.

So back to my thought… individuals that were taking endless snapshots quickly found that they could make serious money from their work — they could sell it outright via specialized sites or post good quality images onto free sites such as Flickr and drive many more people to them where they could then try and sell other images or higher quality images that would be suitable for use in print or other mediums.

This has created a flood of websites that are able to monetize the traffic using AdSense or other advertising methods.  The better quality sites out there, receive millions of visitors every month and top-ranked authors/contributors are also taking in some of this cash by way of increased exposure and sales of their images.

Flicker CCThe one thing I like about Flickr is that you can search for photos by the type of Creative Commons license that the photo is under.  They also provide a brief of the Creative Commons licenses that they support.

Attribution License – approx 6.9 million photos
Attribution-NoDerivs License – approx 2.3 million photos
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License – approx 20.8 million photos
Attribution-NonCommercial License – approx 8.6 million photos
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License – appro 17.3 million photos
Attribution-ShareAlike License – approx 4.8 million photos

So yes – there are A LOT of images available on Flickr with various CC licences.

CC allows individuals to share their work, while still ensuring that they retain some of the copyright to their work.

CC allows users to base their works on a wide spectrum of choices – read their ABOUT page: http://creativecommons.org/about/

If you are looking to use potentially copyrighted images for your blog posts, or for other purposes you should consider using those images that are licensed under the CC banner.

It makes it easier to use these images — but you are not tied to using those specific images.  They are still plenty of sites where you can purchase royalty free images.  Generally these images are made for specific purposes – such as web use, for magazines or other print publications and even for TV.  With the amount of competition out there for images, you can always find something that is reasonably priced. 

In my post “Using Images On Your Blog Post“, I mentioned several sites that you can visit to find images.  But just perform a search in Google or any other search engine for “royalty free images” and you’ll see that there are many quality sites out there.

Personally I like iStockPhoto.  Their prices are reasonable – ranging from $1.00 to $20.00 and they also offer video clips.  You should understand their licensing system though, before using any of the images on the site.  Sites like iStockPhoto are meant for serious advertisers and others that are using the images in publications or for advertising material.

Another great source of images is your hosting company or domain name registrar.  I use 1And1 for some of my domain registration needs, and they allow me access to their stock of images.  There are some good images in there, and some great icons and other graphics that could be used.

There are quite a few sites out there that also provide links to Public Domain Images.  One site that I found was http://www.sdst.org/shs/library/cfimages.html.

Whether you are looking for royalty free images, public domain images or images licensed under the Creative Commons license there are hundreds of sites out there that offer something for everyone.

Do you have a site that you use?  Care to share it with other readers?  Simply comment on this post, most comments will be approved provided that they are not spam.


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About Rob 'n Mo

I'm a man of mystery. I like anonymity, but on the WWW there is not much of it...
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