Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

12/9/13

Photo from UU Media Works. (Image by Tim Atkins, heart graphic from stock.xchng. Non-profit use only.)
Photo from UU Media Works. (Image by Tim Atkins, heart graphic from stock.xchng. Non-profit use only.)

We all do it – we are checking our news feed on facebook and someone shares an image with us and we love it, so we then share it to our friends. Well that’s ok, because when you share an image on facebook it links back to the original giving credit to the original posters. But what if we download that picture and then post it to our website? Blog? Or even back on our facebook page? That’s a no-no unless two criteria are met.

  1. The item is copyrighted  as creative commons – meaning anyone can use it. For example, photos posted by the UU Media Works are creative commons, so anyone can use them but only if…
  2. You attribute the originator of the photo or image if you know who it is. That means you add a caption stating “photo from UU Media Works” or similar.

I’ve heard folks say “but if it is on the internet I can use it”. No, you can’t. Websites and blogs in particular and social media to some extent must follow the same copyright laws.

This doesn’t just apply to images on facebook. If you find an image you like on the internet, you can’t just copy it and use it, especially if it is copyrighted. When searching for images on Google, make sure you set the advanced settings usage rights to “labeled for reuse or share” to ensure you have something you can legally repost on your website or social media site. Don’t do this and you may find yourself on the wrong end of a copyright lawsuit for using an image you don’t have permission to use.

And as far as credit goes – well no one likes to see their work posted without being properly credited. Want to repost a blog? Most bloggers would be thrilled, but make sure you link back to the original site and credit the original author (you should also contact the author or blog host for permission). Use a unrestricted image? Make sure the caption credits the original location.

It’s a bit extra work, but it’s important to give credit where credit is due. And it’s part of our principles.

Beth Casebolt
OMD District Administrator and CERG Communications Consultant

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