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Creating a Poster: Using Other People's Images

Use Other People's Content Responsibly

Ethical Use of Copyrighted Material

You might want to spruce up your poster by adding images or content by someone else. This is fine as long as you have permission to use the content.

Reusing another person's work without permission isn't recommended and may even be a copyright violation.

Openly Licensed Content

To make sure you're using materials responsibly, we recommend limiting your searches to content that's been openly licensed, allowing you to reuse it for free.

One easy way to do this is to keep any eye out for indicators that something has a Creative Commons license assigned to it. A Creative Commons license might still place some limitations on where and how you can reuse something, but it gives you a lot more flexibility.

How to Find Images You're Free to Reuse

Here are three places to start your search for images you should be free to reuse in your poster.

  • Creative Commons Search: This is a good place to start looking for images. There are two checkboxes at the top, for the purposes of this project, you can uncheck use for commercial purposes. If you are not planning on editing an image, you can also uncheck modify, adapt, or build upon. Enter your search terms in the box, and click on the service you want to search (Flickr, Google Images, etc.).
  • Google Image Search: When searching, click Tools, then click Usage Rights, then check Creative Commons licenses (this will likely produce the most results). Be aware that just because an image shows up as licensed doesn’t necessarily mean that the image has been appropriately licensed in such a way. Google is using the metadata for the image that it has available to it, and if someone assigned it a license inappropriately, then it may be infringing on someone’s rights inadvertently. 
  • Flickr: After searching for images, click where it says Any License and change to All Creative Commons. You can also change to No Copyright Restrictions but that may result in fewer usable images. The Flickr Commons page also aggregates reusable content.

This content was taken from Musselman Library's Digital Humanities Toolkit

Providing Attribution

Format for Creative Commons Attributions

Whenever you include an image you didn't make, you need to add a caption that provides credit and attribution.

Creative Commons recommends including the following information in attributions:

  • Title of the work
  • Name of the creator
  • Link to the source of the work (if possible)
  • Link to Creative Commons license applied

For example, it might look like this: “Furggelen afterglow” by Lukas Schlagenhauf is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Other Resources