Hello Cory,

There have definitely been times when I need a picture or two to illustrate a point when I write a blog post. And this is one of those times…

But where do I go to find one?

This photo, "Scratched red question mark" is copyright (c) unknown by takomabibelot and made available under a Attribution license

Personally I like to look for images on the Creative Commons area on Flickr. But first, what is Creative Commons? In a nutshell it is a non-profit organization started by this guy (Larry Lessig):

Here is a video called “Shared Culture” that explains the concept of Creative Commons:

A Shared Culture

Creative Commons License

A Shared Culture by Jesse Dylan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) license.

So why would arts teachers want to know about Creative Commons? In an age where it is easy to “grab” a picture for a blog post, it is important to know who owns the rights to the image. Creative Commons licenses allow the owner of an image or other media artifact to share under with all of us under certain specifications. See FAQ for other Creative Commons questions. For more information on Creative Commons licenses, go here. As you can see on the Creative Commons area on Flickr, you can search for images based on the different types of attribution licenses.

Of course every arts educator is concerned with teaching students how to properly cite media on blogs and wikis. This is one resource that is good for every arts teacher to use and model for his/her students: http://librarianbyday.net/2009/09/28/how-to-attribute-a-creative-commons-photo-from-flickr/ See example 5 for a citing all the information for the image that you use from the Creative Commons area on Flickr. Here is an example of an image that I researched and cited:

This photo, "Scratched red question mark" is copyright (c) unknown by takomabibelot and made available under a Attribution license

So I am looking for an image online…. My rule of thumb is that If I don’t know who owns the rights to an image online or it is unclear whether or not it is Copyrighted, then I don’t use it. The Creative Commons area on Flickr provides one place where creators of images don’t mind sharing as long as we follow the guidelines for attributions for their work. ; )

Another area for finding other media such as videos and music is in the search area on Creative Commons. There are many items for use in blogs (providing that appropriate attribution information is included.

I hope that arts teachers will teach students this skill and talk with students about the ethics of researching and posting pictures with appropriate citations. This is part of teaching digital media literacy research skills. This also goes with the territory when pictures are posted on a blog. Otherwise students (and teachers) may have to spend years responding to emails from media owners saying, “please remove my copyrighted image from your site” or worse yet respond to threats of legal action.

Hope to see you in Creative Commons land!

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