All bloggers would love to start monetizing their blog through various ad networks, the most prestigious among them Google Adsense, but being approved as a publisher is very difficult. Ad networks require sites and bloggers go adhere go strict guidelines. One of the most is their specifications regarding copyright infringement which some either take lightly or ignore it completely with a blatant disregard for attribution when required to do so. For those who not know much about copyright infringement, according to Wikipedia, it is the use of works that are protected by copyright law (legal right by law that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution) without their consent, infringing certain exclusive rights granted by the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. As we all know, copyright law is there to protect our intellectual property.
As a newbie blogger myself, I am currently learning and trying to rectify mistakes I have made on my blog-- that is, taking down images which I had thought were safe to use in my posts. All bloggers know that including images in our posts make it more eye-catching and even more relevant since a picture is worth a thousand words. As I was scrambling to find images that are free to use, I stumbled upon a number of free-images websites that provide users images with a CO0 License or mainly a Creative Commons Zero License, meaning these images are free to use, modify, and share (even for commercial purposes) requiring no attribution. According to these websites, the main reason why they make it their mandate to provide CO0 Licensed images is that 99% of people who use images do not provide the proper attribution anyway. For someone as new as me, who has only been blogging for 3 months and has no background on blogging, providing attribution is something I am struggling with. Thus, free-imaging websites are like a gold mine to me. I would like to stress, although there are images that are free for us to use, these images should be used responsibly and appropriately.
Sometimes, we may not be able to find images that we want. Google Advanced Image Search when filtered can find you images that you can use BUT, you are required to provide proper attribution to the owner/author of the image and if modified, requires you to state modification. Before using these images, you should check the specific Creative Commons License deed to know the limitations of use.
How to Provide Adequate Attribution
I would like to teach the simple but, the adequate way of attribution when it is duly required. Remember the acronym TASL which stands for Title of the image, Author of the image, Source of the image, and License the image has. When providing attribution, one must add it as a caption of the image. If the image you would like to use does not have a Title, you may place either: image, untitled, or photo. After the title, indicate the name of the author hyperlinked to the original source where the image was first uploaded. If the image was found elsewhere, indicate that source by stating "via wherever you found it" hyperlinked to that source. Lastly, include the Creative Commons License deed of the image which should be hyperlinked redirecting to the page that explains the Creative Commons License that the image operates on.
To give you an example, let's use this photo that I found on Flickr which operates on a CC-BY 2.0 License
This is a picture of Taal Volcano located here in the Philippines. The author of this photo is therealbrute and was published on Flickr on May 15, 2010, with the title "Taal Volcano".
For more information regarding attribution for Creative Commons licensed images please refer to this link "How to Cite" by Pixabay.
For scholarly or academic papers, however, attribution is required for ALL images even images tagged as public domain. Attribution is more detailed for scholarly writing. For academic papers, the sequence is as follows: Author's name (Last name, First Name), year published in open and closed parentheses, followed by the title of the image, the license deed of the image, and lastly the source of the image. In addition, attribution must be included as a reference at the end of writing. To learn more about proper citation in academic works, please visit this website http://libguides.scf.edu/apa_image_citation
Here are some guidelines to ensure the safety of your blog posts when using images online.
1. After finding an image online, check for copyright status. If you are unsure of the origins or copyright of the image, click on the camera button on Google Image Search for a reverse search.
2. If the image is under full copyright, you may ask the author/ owner's consent.
3. Always provide the name of the author and the title of the image to show what it represents.
4. Remember to cite/attach the link to the source or website that the picture originally appeared.
5. For professionalism, you may also provide attribute links at the end of your blog post which serves as a "thank you" gesture for the author.
6. Learn how to use Creative Commons. It may be a bit tricky, but you'll get the hang of it in time.
7. Familiarize yourself with Copyright Law and Fair Use Policy. Be aware of the gray areas in Copyright Laws.
Fair Use permits the use of copyrighted material without acquiring the consent of the copyright holder such as to comment upon, criticize, or create a parody of copyrighted work. For example, citing a paragraph of a published article to state a comment is considered "fair use".
8. Always remember the acronym TASL when providing attribution.
9. If you modify the image, do state.
10. If you make use of GIFs, do note that they are protected by copyright law. You have to ask for consent. Otherwise, you are better off making your own.
For the noble blogger, copyright infringement isn't something that ANY blogger should take lightly. Truth be told, I pulled down 2 of my posts because of this. I know I have a lot to learn and I am willing to correct whatever mistakes I have done. I do hope others will follow in my stead.
I hope this is useful information and if you have anything to add, please feel free to leave a comment so it can be brought to my attention.