It is ALWAYS important to pay proper attention to citing your sources – including any photographs you use. However, any writer or student can also tell you that citing properly can be confusing to say the least. So, to help you out, we are going to explain the importance of image attribution and how you can make sure your images are correctly sourced when you use them.
Why is This Important?
So, why take the time to learn how to properly do this? What’s the worst thing that can happen? An angry email? A slap on the wrist? Perhaps you think you can just remove the image from your site and it will all go away. You’d be surprised. There have been many cases where copyright laws have been broken and the true owner’s have gone to court to protect their work.
For example, let’s consider the case of Chang v. Virgin Mobile. In this instance, Chang had an image on Flickr that Virgin Mobile used with no credit given to Chang.
In the end, Virgin Mobile got lucky and weren’t charged thanks to the jurisdiction falling under publicity rights instead of copyrights. However, not everyone who goes through this is so lucky. For example, in the case of No. 71036 N. v. Newspaper, the newspaper in question was caught not only misusing a photographer’s work but failing to accurately quote several Wiki articles as well.
But it isn’t just the big companies that have to be concerned. Countless website owners have been asked to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for having used an image without proper attribution. These copyright issues apply to EVERYONE.
What Needs to be Included in a Proper Attribution?
You need to be sure to include 4 pieces of information in your attribution. These include the;
• Source (This is most often a hyperlink in the title of the work.)
The idea of listing the title, author, and URL source is rather self-explanatory. We should take a minute to go over licenses. Not all CC images and works are licensed the same, so it is important that you list the licensing rule that the work is protected by.
However, sometimes when you are citing material, you may find that it has more than one source. In these cases, most writers will add a blurb you have probably seen before. It is usually much like the following;
Some writers will also add a link to the end of a blurb like this to the original work. This nod to the original author is the source of the work and is best to have.
Example of a Properly Licensed Photo
This is a rather simple concept but sometimes an example is the best way to explain what to do. Below is a CC image with the correct citation.
For the most part, these citations will be either underneath the picture as stated above with the font slightly smaller than the rest of the text or listed at the end of the article or paper in a bibliography.
So the next time you add an image to your website without proper attribution, remember what you’ve read here and do the right thing by adding proper attribution. Or, if you really don’t want to deal with all that, just use a site like Pixabay, which provides royalty free images that don’t require attribution.