How to Properly Credit Images Released Under the Creative Commons License

Crediting works released under a CC-BY licence is more than just the right thing to do. Mistakes might result in costly fines for copyright violations.


Creative Commons licences are a way for artists to give others the freedom to use, distribute, and build upon their work with attribution. The author's choice of licence determines how you, as a user, must credit their creation. Be wary of images labelled with CC-BY or Creative Commons Attribution in their usage conditions.


Artists must be given full credit in this instance. Not giving correct credit where credit is due can result in hefty fines, therefore it's important to always include the creator's name and a link to the original source.


Creative Common Licence

Licenses for Shared Original Works


When possible, credit information should be shown adjacent to or on the same page as the corresponding image. A complete credit should include the following details: the name of the author, the name of the work, a link to the original source, and a link to the licencing agreement. Depending on the circumstance, you may even be tasked with mentioning any modifications.


That's a goodly number of people! Legally speaking, failing to include a link to the licencing deed is a violation of copyright. It is not required but is encouraged that the title of the work is mentioned: The Creative Commons Wiki has extensive information on proper citations.


It's not enough to just attribute work; you must also ensure that your planned use is compliant with the terms of the CC-BY licence. Specifically, commercial use is typically forbidden (CC-BY-NC). Furthermore, certain photos may be manipulated, while others may only be used intact, depending on the licence (CC-BY-ND). Creative Commons, a non-profit group, provides a helpful summary of the various CC licences and their restrictions.


Our findings show that more than 90% of images shared under Creative Commons do not include any kind of attribution. Worse, just around 10% of images that include a credit for the original creator do it correctly. This indicates that almost ninety-nine per cent of images shared under Creative Commons lacks proper citations.


We take satisfaction in the fact that the vast majority of bloggers utilising Foter.com properly attribute CC photographs, which is substantially eased by our "ready to paste" attribution details. When users find a picture they like, they can easily include it in their blogs by copying the image and its attribution information. However, the majority is not sufficient.


How can I find the easiest licence to use?


We opted to have all content on Pixabay distributed under CC0 since, surprisingly, over 99 per cent of all photos licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence are not acknowledged appropriately. With CC0, you don't need to attribute anything or seek permission to use the material; there are no copyrights.


This means that our pictures may be used in practically any scenario without worry. Most "free" photos, on the other hand, are distributed under a Creative Commons attribution licence that mandates giving acknowledgement to the original creator whenever the image is reused.


At the end of the post, we provide a visual summary of the main points made here:


The infographic was shared publicly by Foter and is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY), as noted at the bottom.