One of the biggest perils of creating content as a freelancer is copyright infringement. Yes, we also stress about plagiarism and outstanding invoices that go ignored. Yet the fear of your work appearing in someone else’s oeuvre without permission is very real.
Coming from the world of book and magazine publishing, I completely understand and respect the importance of permissions in the world of publication and performance. And blogging, albeit fast-paced and capricious, is no different.
Here on The Lambent Letter, I make an effort to only use images offered through Creative Commons licenses. Without the amazingly talented photographers and artists using Attribution, Attribution-No Derivatives, and Attribution-Share Alike licenses, my blog would be a lot more dull and unappealing.
But what about new bloggers who don’t know how to approach attribution? How do you find images that complement your blog and carry a CC license? How do you display credit? Do you contact the artist and let them know their work is now a part of your creation too?
Well, there are many ways to approach copyright on your blog. And the former associate editor in me says, “Keep it simple, but make it your own.”
Here’s a peak at my process, but feel free to adapt your own.
Now, that part is straight-forward and doesn’t involve much variation. But once you find your photo(s), you can display credit in four different ways.
It may seem a bit involved, but I prefer Option 4. I think it leaves your layout looking clean and polished, especially if you use multiple images in your posts. I also believe a link to the original source conveys a sense of quid pro quo or a gracious “Thank You” to the artist directly.
Once the post is published, I leave a message on the owner’s Flickr page, stating who am I, how I used their photo and a link to where they can find it on my blog. That way, if it’s a No Derivatives license, the owner can see I didn’t alter the photo in any way and see how their work is being used around the net.
Again, my approach isn’t for everyone. Plenty of bloggers keep it much simpler: Add a photo, tweak the layout, place credit at bottom of the post, and Ta-Da! No muss, no fuss.
I adapted the attribution process to suit my style, and you’re welcome to do the same. What matters most is that we acknowledge when the work is not our own, even if the image comes from Pinterest. Karen, from The Graphics Fairy blog, wrote a helpful piece on how to find the source of a Pinterest image when the owner is not provided.
In the end, we’re all content creators who love to share our work, but not without appreciation or our permission. The karmic approach of attributing others’ work to their sources fosters a stronger sense of community in the stressful world of the creative professional. So make sure you pay it forward and give credit where credit is due.
How do you approach copyright issues on your blog? What sources do you use for free or inexpensive blog photos?