Net Peeve: Flickr Photo Use For Bloggers

Comments 14 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I often talk about things I like and things that I’ve discovered that totally rock but now I’m just going to take a moment to reflect on some of my “Net Peeves”.

I’m sure we all have them… that website you visit all the time that’s just horrendous to navigate around, has massive background images, autoplaying music and charming web 1.0 rotating gifs. Well, maybe that’s not even your “Net Peeve” maybe you can’t stand sidebars and the site of them makes you shriek and curl into a ball. Who knows. My site is no prize, I know I sometimes have some sloppy CSS and I’m in desperate need of a new banner and theme change… and I won’t even touch on content… but I digress.

Net Peeve #001 Usage of Flickr Photos

One thing I am a huge supporter of is Creative Commons licensing. If I am browsing Flickr for a photo to use in a blog post I make sure to do an “advanced search” and only choose those with the appropriate license. In this case since I am not the owner and I will be redistributing the photo in the form of the blog post I am looking for a “Attribution”, “Non-Commercial”, “No Derivative Works” or “Share Alike” license. [see: Flickr, Creative Commons]

I have used “All Right Reserved” images before, but that was after contacting the owner and getting full permission. I also give permission to some of my friends to use my photos as I know we link to each other at least 5 times a week anyway. Usually all you have to do is “attribute” the images properly by linking as directed or requested, or back to the original photo stating the photographer’s name.

Same thing goes the other way as well, if you have a Flickr account and want people to find and use your photos, make sure to select the appropriate license for your images.

If you are a blogger that wants to use a CC licensed photo you found on Flickr, you need to attribute it back to the source. A big “Net Peeve” of mine is when people Right Click/Save As other people’s Flickr images. You can find some neat WordPress plugins that will seek out Flickr photos and drop them into your posts appropriately but other than that, here are a few simple steps to using a shareable photo from Flickr in a blog post:

1) Find the photo you like and decide what size you need it in for your post, if you need it larger or smaller than the standard view, click on “All Sizes” and continue this process with Small, Medium, Large or Original.

2) Right click on the image and select “Copy Image Location”. You’ll then have something like this:

3) Go into your blog post and paste what you just copied into an image tag:

4) Go back to the original photo and copy the url in the address bar to get the link for the photo. Link the photo tag or photo by typing/pasting the HTML link code or by using the little link button in your editor and pasting it in.

This allows for the image to stay on Flickr while whole attribution is now given to the source. Of course if people didn’t want their photos downloaded off Flickr they can adjust their privacy settings but doing so also removes the ability to right click and view the image location. If it does get to that point then that’s probably not a photo they want shared and you should look for a new one for your blog post.

All in all, I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to link a photo to the source. First, you get to use a really rad shot with full permission, and second it’s nice to leave a comment on the original photo. I usually say “Hi, I used this photo in a blog post and linked back here with credit,” plus a big thanks and a link to the blog post. That even gives you more traffic coming from the photo, and lots of people love to see their works on display. Shiny happy sharing people all around.

Of note: Darren’s post about Flickr and CC licensing that has quite the discussion going in the comments.

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14 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. DarrenTuesday, September 25th, 2007 — 10:12am PDT

    Good post, and it’s shocking that people would still use ‘save as’ to irresponsibly host Flickr photos locally.

    I would suggest one tiny clarification that I learned about in the coarse of that nerd tussle on my blog. There’s no official requirements for ‘attribution’ for bloggers citing use of photos under Creative Commons. There is no official ‘whole attribution’.

    You describe a totally reasonable scenario (link back plus cite the photographer’s name), and that’s more or less what I do. But even that gets a tad tricky. Do I cite their actual name, their Flickr user name, or both? If they have particular requirements for their attribution, how will I find that information?

    Also, you can make a case that linking-back alone constitutes attribution. And then I’ve heard from people who feel they should be asked about usage, despite CC licensing their photos.

    In short, it’s not quite as simple as it should be. I think your instructions are going to make 90% of the people happy 90% of the time, though.

  2. gusgreeperTuesday, September 25th, 2007 — 10:13am PDT

    well you know how mad i got when that girl hot linked my sweet spock header. oh the memories of my anger at her ignorance.
    i have always linked everything back from the very beginning of my blog i think that it is the number one rule of blogging and people who don’t link stuff back are jerks.

    wow im so deep.

  3. Miss604Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 — 10:15am PDT

    Darren: you’re right, it all depends how someone wants their work attributed… there was one guy who had it listed right in his profile “If you would like to use one of my photos, please credit First Name / Last Name and link here“. That was super handy although i seriously don’t expect everyone to do that 😛

  4. RichardTuesday, September 25th, 2007 — 12:42pm PDT

    You don’t call out specific sites that do this, so I will. Beyond Robson, Midnight Poutine and BlogTO (all part of the Fresh Daily network) regularly host Flickr images on their own servers, and often don’t attribute until the bottom of the post. Since the bottom of the post is sometimes cut off from the front page, attribution is often not included in the RSS feed. They break with the standard practice, which is to link the entire photo back to the original page, making a nice big thing to click to get to the comments on Flickr. I always make the entire photo a link, and sometimes link to the set or the tag that the photographer used (depending on whether I want to send people to all their related photos). Usually I just link back to the original photo’s page, since the original has links to tags/sets that the photo is associated with.

  5. Keira-AnneTuesday, September 25th, 2007 — 5:01pm PDT

    Thanks for posting this. I was fortunate in actually being asked permission by Beyond Robson before they used one of my photos, so I’m thankful for that. Linking back to your photo source is the cardinal rule of blogging, imo.

  6. teflonjediTuesday, September 25th, 2007 — 6:43pm PDT

    It’s funny…I was just thinking about this topic last night, as I ran across a photo on flickriver that gave me some funny memories…and then I started thinking about resetting some of the copyright settings for my photos on flickr as a result. Maybe I’ll do that once I get back from Beijing and Shanghai next week.

    You know, it would be handy if flickr would paste right into the “blog this” blog entry, the link to the Creative Commons license terms. They ask us to do this, and, well, it would be better if we could just help out the lazy people (like myself)…

  7. Boris MannTuesday, September 25th, 2007 — 6:48pm PDT

    Easier way is to just click on “All Sizes”, select the size, and you’ll have HTML underneath with a full link and everything….

  8. Miss604Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 — 8:27am PDT

    Boris: I think it only gives the ‘all sizes’ code on your own photos… maybe your friends’ as well but not all people

  9. DarrenWednesday, September 26th, 2007 — 9:03am PDT

    Yep, I think that code is only on friends’ photos.

  10. fotoeinsWednesday, September 26th, 2007 — 12:38pm PDT

    Thanks for your post, Becks. I remain a little apprehensive that people scour the net and might lift the various travel photos I’ve taken in the last while. I think in the end, it’s always nice to ask; it’s only polite.

  11. KeithThursday, September 27th, 2007 — 1:30am PDT

    A couple things:

    1. The “All Sizes” code will show up on any photo which has not been “protected” in any way, like this completely random selection which happens to have a CC attribution, no derivitives license.

    2. There are just too many examples of companies and individuals trying to exploit the “well you put it on the Internet, so it’s public” defense for stuff like this. I’ll have a post up on my site in a couple of days with some recent, glaring examples.

    3. Hosting others’ photos not only is impolite/illegal/bad mojo, it’s also a poor practice from a technical perspective. Unless you’re told to not “hot-link” to someone elses work, you should always link to the original source in case it gets updated/modified… besides, it will save you bandwidth on your hosting account! 🙂

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