TOPIC: Self-publishing using WordPress, an industry-standard blogging platform
Most music is protected under international copyright law in the same way photography and illustrations are protected. It is illegal to sample bits and pieces of songs you love to use in your own audio or video works. In the same way as you must not simply grab whatever you want from the results of a Google Image search, you should never use any music you please without first establishing that you have permission to use it.
Observing the copyright of other writers, photographers, video makers, and illustrators is very, very important when you’re putting together your multimedia project. You may not use just any old photo or illustration you find using Google Image search. Similarly, you cannot simply “reblog” great stuff you find on other people’s blogs or web sites. Using other people’s work without permission is illegal. It also devalues the work professionals do, which may make your own work worth less in the future, when your work is your livelihood. That’s worth thinking about!
Fortunately, on the the Internet you can find a community of generous people who like to share their work. It can be an advantage for a keen amateur photographer to have his or her photos used on your site – it promotes their work. There are some very good web sites which offerCreative Commons-licenced images and music which you’re able to use in non-commercial projects.
A good first place to start to look for CC-licenced photographs is the CC licence search. Enter your search term, and click on the site you want to use for your search.
You can also find CC-licenced images directly on Flickr and DeviantArt. Flickr allows you to narrow your search to CC-licenced images only, by going into options under the ‘advanced search’ link. DeviantArt contributors provide a download link next to their work if they agree to its use elsewhere.
When you’re using work posted on Flickr or DeviantArt, you MUST provide a byline or credit – an example is in the caption for the photo above: “Photo: 917press/flickr, some rights reserved.” You may also make your credit a link to the illustrator’s page on Flickr or DeviantArt. It’s also generous to offer the artist a thank you and a link to your site in the comments section below their work.
TOPIC: How to find photos and illustrations for your blog
DUE TUESDAY AUGUST 27: A photograph, illustration or map for each of your blog posts so far. The images you choose must observe copyright. In other words, you must have established that they are available for use under a creative commons licence, or you must have the author’s permission to use his or her work. Of course you can always use your own photos!
READ: Creative Commons FAQ
Most eye-catching blogs use images to enhance their appeal – the Internet is after all a highly visual medium. Acres and acres of text unbroken by occasional illustrative relief are actually tiring to the eye, and tend to turn readers away. Of course there are exceptions, but a text-only blog should be very clean and unfussy if it is to be attractive to your audience. If you’re publishing journalism-style work on your blog, photos, illustrations and graphics are essential. Your Syria posts might serve as good examples: they really need a map so that your readers know where in the world Syria is.
One of the first places to look for good photos to use is Flickr. Head straight for the advanced search page and scroll down to the bottom where you’ll see an option to tick the box “only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” (in the photo below). Tick that box, and perform your search.
Once you’ve found a photo you like, click on it. At the top left above your photo, click on the link “actions – view all sizes” (see below).
On the next page you’ll be offered a variety of different photo sizes to download. I recommend keeping a folder on your computer or USB for blog photos, so you have them all in one place.
It’s absolutely vital that you don’t infringe anyone’s copyright. For that reason, you cannot just download any old photo or illo you find using a Google Image search. The cat photo above is an example of one which is not available for use without permission (and probably payment to the photographer). Despite Flickr offering us a range of download sizes, the critical point is the licence: it says clearly “All rights reserved …” (see below), which means you may not use the photo without asking. If you’re crazy about the pic, and absolutely must have it, you need to contact the photographer to ask for permission.
CREATIVE COMMONS LICENCES
Flickr photos which are available for use will have a licence like the one below, which says the photographer agrees you can reproduce his or her photo, but you must attribute it (i.e. provide a photo credit). In the example below, the photo credit would be “Photo: donnmjck/flickr”. If you can make the photo credit a hyperlink back to the photographer’s Flickr page, that’s even better.
You must become familiar with Creative Commons licences and the rules of using other people’s work. You might also consider licensing your own work, and making the photos you take available for others to use.