Challenge 6: Copyright & Creative Commons


In challenge #5, you uploaded an image that you took yourself. You did not download an image from someone else from the Internet. Because you were the “creator” of your own image, you automatically were the owner and did not have to worry about infringing on any copyright ownership. When you blog, that might not always be the case. You might not be able to take your own image or would like to share a specific image/photo/infographic/etc. created by someone else. This challenge brings copyright awareness to the surface and will give you different options and resources to use visuals/photographs and other forms of media (text, video, audio, etc.)  from other people on your blog.

In this new challenge, you are to write a blog post (about any topic/a reflection/ a book recommendation/ a recent learning opportunity/ etc.) and are to include different types of media (Creative Commons or Public Domain) that you will cite properly.

We live in the age of information being readily available… anytime… anywhere! With a click of a mouse or a swipe of a finger, we are online to read, look at, watch and listen to all different kinds of media. Copying that media, as some of us can still remember, used to be hard. Duplicating and making copies cumbersome and expensive. Tape recorders and music albums or radio, VHS recorders and TVs, xerox machines and books/articles, carbon copies and typewriters…

With the growth of the information and the Internet, traditional copyright (all rights reserved) was not sufficient enough to keep up with the growing re-mix,  “be your own publisher” culture and overall easy of sharing online. One organization set out to create copyright licenses that were not as restrictive as the traditional copyright license and gave authors/creators a variety of ways to license their work to encourage sharing, re-mixing and building upon their work.

Creative Commons (CC) is and organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. Creative Commons licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators.

Unfortunately there is a common misconception among many (including educators) , that “just because something is online, it is free for the taking”. Another myth is the belief that “as long as your give credit to the copyright holder”, you  have the right to use it. That misconception blatantly disregards the rights of the holder of the copyright to choose when, how and IF they allow someone else to “copy” their work. Simply by giving them credit, does not mean you had the right to copy.

Imagine you go into a store and “take” a bike with you without paying. When caught by the police later on for stealing the bike, you simply say: “I stole the bike from the store, but it is ok, since I am telling you from whom I stole it.” You neglected to take into consideration, that it was the right of the store to say, that you needed to pay in order to take it. It was their right to put a price on the bike. Just by giving credit to them as the place you took the bike, does not make the “infringement” less.

As we blog, we want to expand our “writing” to go beyond the one medium of TEXT. We want to embed other types of media to experiment with our communication skills. How can we do this WITHOUT infringing on the copyright of others?

Let’s look at 4 different types of copyright licenses:

  1. Copyright (all rights reserved)
  2. Public Domain (no rights reserved)
  3. Creative Commons (some rights reserved, flexible license to encourage sharing and remixing)
  4. Fair Use (doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder)

We recommend using your own media whenever possible to not have to worry about copyright issues. When you are creating your own media, it is appropriate to make decisions HOW you will license your work. If you do not make a decision, your work will automatically fall under the copyrighted (all rights reserved) category.

We also understand that it  is not always possible to create your own media. The next step would be to search for media where the copyright has expired or the work has been released by the copyright holder into Public Domain.

If you are still not able to find what you are looking for under the Public Domain, it is time to search for media licensed under Creative Commons and cite your media appropriately.

If you are not successful in locating appropriate media for your blog or simply feel that you want to share a particular file (no other will do), you can seek written permission by the copyright holder to use the media on your blog. Once the original owner gives you permission, you can use the media with appropriate credits on your blog.

Another, more way of using copyrighted work is when you are able to prove that you can claim Fair Use.


No matter which license the media you are using on your blog, you will need to cite the media appropriately. If there is no citation, visitors/readers of your blog will assume that you are the rightful owner of the work.

copyright1 copyright2

There are different combinations that the owner can choose to license their work under Creative Commons. Pay attention to these combinations and follow the request by the original author. copyright3

How do I find Creative Commons or Public Domain Images?

Simply googling an image won’t do the trick.

  1. When you type in “Western Wall” into Google and filter by “Images”, you will receive  thousands of images. Some of these images are copyrighted images (all rights reserved) and not suitable to use on your blog without infringing on the rights of the owner of the image.


2. Fortunately Google has Search Tools that allow you to filter the results by “Usage rights”.copyright2 copyright3

3.Once you have chosen an image from the images labeled for reuse, you can click on the image, then click on “visit page” to verify that it is indeed licensed under Creative Commons and to find out the specific license the author has chose and his/her attribution name.

4. You might have to scroll down for this information. Note the author/owners name in order to cite the image properly


5. The following image of the Western Wall is indeed licensed under Creative Commons (BY/SA)- Attribution and Share Alike, which means we will need to cite the name of the author of the image and share this post in the same manner licensing this post under Creative Commons (BY/SA)



Image licensed under Creative Commons (BY/SA) by Daniel Majewski-,_Jerusalem,_Shavuot.JPG

Another great source for Creative Commons images is Flickr. Once you search for a keyword, millions of results might pop up. These results will be a mixture of copyrighted, Creative Commons licenses and also images in public domain. Just like Google, Flickr has a search filter tool.

  1. Type in a search keyword or phrase in the search box.


2. If you click on any of these images above, you might end up finding an image with all rights reserved. You would infringe on copyright, if you were to use that image in your blog post.


3. Click on “Any Licenses”. If you choose the specific license you are looking for, Flickr will automatically filter out any image, with other licenses.


4. After filtering, click on any image and verify that the image was indeed licensed under Creative Commons. In the image below, Ann Davis chose an attribution, non-commercial license. You would be able to use her image, if you are not using it for commercial purposes in your blog post and you would be giving her attribution with a link to the original work (to leave a breadcrumb trail for others).


Sometimes you might see/hear/watch media on another platform and you are not sure if you are able to re-use, embed/share that file on your own blog. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Look if there are explicit signs (like the copyright symbol or the word “copyright” ) watermarked on the file (ex, images) or spelled out “somewhere” around the file you would like to use.
  2. If there is a copyright somewhere on the site, you will need to ask for written permission
  3. If there is a Creative Commons symbol or it is spelled out, you will need to follow the specifications outlined in the CC license and terms for using the file on your blog
  4. If you CANNOT find any mention of copyright, public domain, or Creative Commons , YOU HAVE TO ASSUME that the work is copyrighted and you will need to ask for written permission. Don’t make the mistake of using someone’s work and because you could not find a copyright declaration, you think it is ok to use it.

Let’s look at the example from the teachthought blog. Let’s assume you were interested in using the image below in one of your blog posts.


Copyright notices of a site, can usually be found in a sidebar or in the footer at the bottom of a page. Just scrolling down, we can see that the site and its content is copyrighted.


On Andrea Hernandez’ s blog, you can find a Creative Commons license in her sidebar, letting us know that we are able to use her content with proper attribution and terms.


The following blog has no visible copyright license posted and we have to assume that content is copyrighted. We would have to ask (and receive) permission in writing from the owner in order to use any content on our own blogs.





Blog Posts:

Creative Commons and Public Domain Images

Creative Commons audio

Creative Commons video

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