How To Legally Use Images And Videos On-Line

Legal Use of Images, Videos, Charts and Graphs on Hubpages

I've been struggling with some of the questions I raise for some time and have to admit that I am still not 100% clear on the answers. My questions all revolve around how to legally use images, videos, charts and graphs on Hubpages. After much research and reading various sources on the web in general and on Hubpages, I feel that I am coming closer to a better if not nearly complete understanding.

I read and review many people's hubs every day on Hubpages and I have had these thoughts quite often as I read through them:

'Wow - cool hub and cool graph - where did they get that?'

'Awesome hub - is it legal to have that picture there that says merely "courtesy of" or did they find that somewhere special that I don't know about?'

'Fantastic information - but are those images legal to use?'

Photo Credit: WikiCommons by Kozuch

I decided that I would start asking questions, not because I am relatively new to Hubpages and am blond, but because I sincerely want to know - and I want to do as I do in real life - live within the law. I believe in rules and regulations being set up for us to follow and I also believe strongly in the general population following those rules and regulations. In my humble opinion, it makes things easier in the long run and hopefully helps us avoid repercussions.

Nothing could be more important in my opinion than the proper and legal use of images, videos, charts and graphs on Hubpages (or anywhere else such as blogs) - unless it is plagiarism of the written word. The tenets of original content or giving credit if you are quoting something someone has already written should also hold true when you are creating part of your hub that contains images, videos, charts and graphs.

People who have created these images, videos, charts and graphs obviously have put much thought and time into the creation of their 'works of art' - and unless they are part of the public domain, they deserve what we should be giving them - attribution.

By the way, a screen shot of an image, etc. is considered a copyright violation if it is a not free image to use simply because we have manipulated it and/or changed it in some fashion by doing a screen shot - unless it was covered by a Creative Commons license that allowed change of that image. In other words, we cannot use it without permission or we can use it as per the licensing attached.

I did get a bit messed up myself when I first started on Hubpages because I did not understand the FAQs regarding images. I learned quite a bit and still think there is more to learn about how we use images. After researching about legal image usage on Hubpages, I began to apply this theory to other forms - hence my inclusion of videos, charts and graphs. This also extends to images that are present on websites. Let's take for instance an image of a certain car on any given website. Is that image legal to download and use on our hubs?


In my opinion, many people are using images, videos, charts and graphs thinking that their usage of these entities falls under the category of fair use. There are many criteria that are considered when it comes to fair use and basically each individual usage of someone's copyrighted work is considered to determine copyright infringement. I believe we all should consider the usage of copyrighted material and be aware that we are on Hubpages, which means that we are part of a commercial venue, no matter how you look at it. That impacts to a certain extent the way that we should view using anything created by someone else.

Some of the criteria used for different media regarding fair use:

  • Are you quoting someone else's work such as quotes, opinions and writings or are you paraphrasing it a bit and calling it your own?
  • Will you profit by using this person's work or are you merely showing the work as an adjunct or illustration to your own writing?
  • Do you intend to compete with this person for personal gain using their work?
  • Are you doing a critique of this person's work or a parody of their creation?
  • Are you using the image, video, chart, or graph as a way of showing how something is in comparison to something else for learning purposes or demonstration? This is also a murky area when it comes to commercial use in my opinion.
  • What is the intent of the use of your video? This is a widely interpretable fair use question and one I am still not sure about. There are so many applications. For instance, you are showing a video to demonstrate the technique for CPR. You are using a video to demonstrate how to accomplish your recipe. You are using a video to teach others about a great singer and bring him or her to their attention. Are any of these fair use?

These are just some of the criteria for the term fair use. However, all that said, it can still be very murky as to what is entirely legal to use and how.

Let's take for example the use of a recipe. Whenever possible, if I use a recipe, I attribute that recipe to the original website or magazine, cookbook, etc. However, if I change the recipe or come up with new ways to make the recipe, I believe I am safe under the laws of fair use because I have outlined a different or more nutritional way to make the recipe but have still given attribution back to the person or organization who published the original recipe. My using the recipe does not infringe on the people who created it - in fact it gives it more exposure. But it also does something else - it gives a new dimension to the recipe in that it can be made healthier or it can be thought of in a different context entirely. I wonder though if this is an incorrect assumption?

NOTE: Fair use does not mean 'free use' - we cannot use anything we want even though it is available on the internet!


I have been trying to get this right since I started and unfortunately, there are still several unanswered questions; however, I think I am at the tip of understanding this issue and that was truly the purpose of this hub.

Anyone who is into photography, or graphic design for instance, knows the sheer jubilation that one feels from a 'perfect' picture - something you created with your imagination and tools and that is unique, something you treasure. I try to remember that feeling when I am searching the internet for images if I need some for a hub and I do not have ones that I created myself. The point I am trying to make is that it is essential that we attribute these images, whether they are graphic images, digital photographs, videos, charts or graphs to the person who has created them. Also of even more importance is that the images are free for us to use in some fashion in the first place!

The Creative Commons issue is a huge one and I will not delve into that in more depth so as to keep this readable and easily understood. However, suffice it to say that ANY image that we use that is not our own should be either a part of the PUBLIC DOMAIN or should be licensed for COMMERCIAL USE under a Creative Commons license. If it is not, we are in violation of copyright law. Pure and simple, there are imprints on these images if they are obtained over the Internet, and someday, somehow we might be filed against for a copyright infringement for using these images. The creator can efficiently track where and how many times the images are displayed on the internet.

Are there CC licenses on websites enabling us to use images? You bet! If you use the Creative Commons link here, you can search for all sorts of images that are legal to use - whether they are digital images, videos, charts and graphs. Then if you attribute them properly, you will know that you have legally used them.

I have read several different variations on the appropriate way to attribute images as well and these are my own personal decisions as of a few days ago. I understand, however, that Hubpages is currently working on at least a Q&A for us all to review and participate in and things should be clearer a bit down the road. There are many unanswered questions about images, videos, charts and graphs but I do believe we will be given concrete instructions soon and that there will not be any doubt. My wish would be that we all follow the same guidelines - while our creativity is an individual thing, legality is a universal necessity.

I believe in the case of digital images, for instance from flickr, we should search under the CC licensed photos available, explained in several other fine hubs on Hubpages (see below) - and attach a text capsule under the photo because that way we can actually add a link back to the person who created the art. That seems only fair. Typing in 'courtesy flickr' or 'flickr' or 'flickr - James Smith' is not true attribution.

The link should go directly to the picture we have used and the attribution should not be so 'flimsy' as to have folks searching all over for the source. In my humble opinion, ANYTHING that we put on our hubs that is quoted, based on or that in any way reflects another person's talent should be directly linked back to them - in a hard link wherever possible.

Also of note, this applies to clip art of any kind! Many folks think that because it is clip art that it has no copyright. There are legal images to use and images that are not legal to use. Again, it has to do with being in the Public Domain or under a Creative Commons license.


This, too is an area that is a bit murky and I am hoping gets clarified soon. Since Hubpages has a capsule available for videos and allows embedded videos from such sites as youtube, blip, yahoo, etc., it is supposed by many of us that the videos are legal to use. I have asked this question of the team at Hubpages and was assured that it was okay to use them. However, on researching it further, I'm worried that some of these videos may be illegal to use because they are derived from other sources, such as TV shows, concerts, movies, etc. I believe we truly need clarification on this issue to make sure that we are legally using the videos.

Further, do we need to attribute these or is it sufficient to use the embedded video via the link? I do not change anything on the videos that I use; I may add a title to the capsule to make it more clear why I used the video - but the capsule is linked directly back to youtube or whatever site I have found the video on thus giving it a hard link and attribution. But is that really attribution or should we be noting more succinctly who uploaded this video onto youtube or whatever site?

Again, questions abound and theories are voiced on Hubpages and elsewhere that we should not use embedded videos but rather make a hard link in our text back to the video. (The video would then of course not show in your hub.) You would be telling someone in effect 'go here and watch this'. Is that legally smarter or are we okay to use embedded videos from allowed sites as decided by Hubpages? Do we need to check the CC license on every video we use or is that possible to do on say youtube?


I see lots of graphs and charts on Hubpages and wonder where folks got them. I wonder sometimes if they imported them or if they possibly created them themselves. It is worth pointing out that charts and graphs are truly images and should fall under the rules and regulations for copyright just like digital images. That means anything from a website that is NOT Creative Commons licensed or in the Public Domain should not be used.

However, that said as well, I believe that if I am doing a comparison on calories in recipes and I want to verify my opinion or lend an expert opinion on the difference in fat and other contents of said recipe done 2 different ways, that it is legal for me to recreate a graph or chart of my own depicting the same information or part of that information.

I am telling the reader that this is where I got the 2 recipes, these are the changes I made, and here is the 'proof' in the graph or chart that there is a difference between the 2 recipes. I am not stealing the author's beautifully designed graph or chart or violating their copyright. I am merely 'quoting' as it were the facts or figures that I have researched - while of course attributing the sources where I retrieved any and all information.


On flickr, you can find thousands if not millions of Creative Common licensed images - including graphs and charts!

Another great source for legal-to-use images, graphs and charts is WikimediaCommons. Some of the images, however, on WikimediaCommons need attribution but if they do, they are all Creative Commons licensed or Share Alike, free to use and only need attribution. There are also videos on WikimediaCommon or by searching via Creative Commons Search.

The only time you can use images, videos, charts, and graphs from the Internet without attribution is if an image, video, chart or graph is listed as part of the Public Domain. No attribution is required!

You can also find images on Wikipedia but make sure that you check the images for licensing parameters. The same goes with Google images.

Of course, if you do your own images, graphs and charts, no attribution is required - although just to be clear, I generally now state 'photograph by Audrey Kirchner' just to let people know I created it. I also make some of my own videos, upload them to youtube, and then download them back into my hubs via the embedded video capsules.


I believe that Hubpages is a great site to write for and that if we all dig in and put our thinking caps on, we can resolve many of these issues and come up with appropriate terms of usage for these confusing areas. These are some of my questions at the moment.

  • Best practice - flickr image with text capsule beneath pic with a hard link back to Creative Common licensed image - whether it is a chart, graph or digital picture - or how to do this legally?
  • Website image usage - only use images from a website that has a Creative Commons license clearly visible - then attribute by text capsule beneath with a hard link back to the website where the image originated?
  • Video usage - are all youtube videos acceptable as embedded links to use in the video capsule or do we need to do a Creative Commons search on any and all videos before incorporating them into our hub?
  • Attribution of videos? If we use an embedded video from youtube or elsewhere, do we need to attribute it as well with a text capsule stating who uploaded the video to the source or regarding licensing?
  • If we want to use graphs and charts - if we cannot find a Creative Common licensed graph or chart that we need, may we create one and list the source as an attribution but then using graph or chart software to create an image, post that new image to our hub?
  • Fair use - how does it apply to images, videos, charts and graphs on Hubpages if importing from another website more specifically?
  • Now that we have all of this knowledge, should we go back and redo any images, graphs, videos, charts, etc. that might be considered a violation of copyright law?

Internet Image Downloaded from Website with CC License to Use

Internet image licensed to use by Creative Commons license at this website - posted on the website itself in clear view

Summing Up How to Legally Use Images, Videos, Charts, and Graphs on Hubpages

As you can see, there are loads of sites to obtain free images and Creative Commons licensed images, videos, charts and graphs for our use on Hubpages. I plan on making use of many of these thanks to my research on this subject!

Most of all, I will be very pleased with myself to have finally laid to rest the question of copyright. As proud as I am of what I accomplish with my own creativity, whether it is photography, videography, writing, etc., I know that the people who create these beautiful images, videos, charts and graphs must feel the same way. I believe that we all should have a care and respect others' creativity by making certain that we attribute their fine work to them and direct other people to the location of these works of art.

If we feel that they are good enough to display on our hubs whether it is to convey a point or just add beauty and contrast to our words, I believe that we owe these folks our sincere thank you for making us look a little better, for adding to 'just' the written word. If we use these things, I strongly believe that they, the owners in truth, have every right to be acknowledged for their creativity in kind. Wouldn't we expect attribution if our hub was used elsewhere or quoted in some fashion?

Here's to clarifying further any questions remaining and to many, many more years of happy hubbing for all of us!




Many sites attributed to listing found on

Attribution on Flickr Made Easy

Creative Commons Licensing Explained

Fair Use Explained

Why Not Write on Hubpages?

Do you like writing too? Do you want to share your thoughts and make money at the same time? If so, you have come to the right place! Hubpages is a great place to write! You can make money in four ways - Adsense, Amazon, Kontrera, and Ebay. Furthermore, Hubpage members are friendly and willing to help you learn the ropes. Sign up today at Hubpages for free!

More by this Author

Comments 116 comments

akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Welcome Kasha~!

Thanks for the link Mercury~

mercuryservices profile image

mercuryservices 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

Great hub! Jam packed with good info. Here's a free image site:

Kasha Tae 3 years ago

Thank you for the advice (and the quick response!) What I was looking for is there, thank goodness. That made it so easy for me, so once again, Thank You!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Hi Kasha - I would recommend that yes - or going to Wikimedia Commons and seeing if the image turned up there as a public domain or a Creative Commons image. You can do a search for public domain images as well and hope that one turns up - but I've found the above technique to work the best. Google has images you can use but you have to make sure that they are also CC licensed. Flickr also has an incredible amount of them as well--but do the CC search to make sure they are legal to use. Good luck!

Kasha Tae 3 years ago

The image I have a question about I am not finding quite a clear answer; I want to include a vintage ad from the early 1900s. I found it several places, but ultimately I scanned it from a book that has many vintage ads. Do I need to credit that book? Should I just try to find a quality image online that falls under creative commons (which I'm having a hard time doing)? I'm very new to this (it will be my first blog in fact) and I'm fuzzy about the guidelines. Please help!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon Author

BB - I would not think ads running was an infringement of any kind~ Good luck!! Thanks for stopping in.

brother bern 3 years ago

I wrote my own songs and produced them, I took pictures from photo bucket and googled free pics of '' what ever content I needed for that part of the song for my you tube video, if I let you tube run ads and I make money, is this infringement ?

akirchner profile image

akirchner 3 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Jordan--and just check on public domain photos and you should be a-okay.

Jordan Mallad profile image

Jordan Mallad 3 years ago from Boston, MA

Thank you! Have been trying to figure out some of this myself. I don't have a lot of personal photos that would work well with my hubs, so I am currently left with hubs that don't have images. Hopefully the information you've given will help me to fix that!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

DS - It does simpify things indeed if you can just pick up your own camera or even video camera and shoot it yourself and I guess that's what got me into it. Thanks for stopping by.

D Shannahan profile image

D Shannahan 4 years ago from Everywhere Man!

this is a great resource for making sure you are legal. As we all do, I wish we could use anything from a google image search as CC usually has absolute crap and irrelevant photos, but that just means the value of good images stays high. this is great because stock photo sites get business and good photographs carry value. it has inspired me to pick up my own dslr and get crackin!

Ryan-Palmsy profile image

Ryan-Palmsy 4 years ago from In a Galaxy far, far away

Brilliant hub with plenty of information! Voted up!

baygirl33 profile image

baygirl33 4 years ago from Hamilton On.

I too am amazed and delighted to have this resource at hand.

I found you while I was trying to find a way to publish a hub I wrote about Key Largo.I wanted to add a video of Bernie Higgins singing Key Largo.Since hp listed youtube as one of the resources we could use,I embedded the video into my hub,using the url to identify it.Everything worked great,the song was a wonderful addition, until I tried to publish.Then I got a scarlet paragraph saying to embed a valid video before I could publish.No mention of why my video was invalid.That would have been a great help.

I found you while I was trying to find a way around this.

I am grateful for your work and will follow so I can keep up with what you're doing.

bty I have decided to delete the video and use the url to link it back to the singer.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Actually I would suggest contacting someone in the legal "know." To give you a scenario from my own personal experience.....

I actually bought a book by a favorite author of mine and was writing a hub ON HER BOOK - I took pictures of HER BOOK and posted them in my hub. Mind you, all the money/advertising is going HER way not mine. However, her publicist (who I happened to contact just to be sure on this) told me in no uncertain terms to pull the images like right now!!! She said that since they were not mine and were showing her work, I should not be posting pictures of them. That would apply to screen shots, etc.

Just to be on the safe side, I would suggest that you contact the originators of the products and ask them. I'm glad that I did as I could have had someone come after me for illegally posting images. I was not trying to "steal" anything but simply promoting a good book. I truthfully don't know enough to be an "authority" on the subject and can only speak from my own experience, but I'd advise posting anything with proprietary information - which includes programs, etc. although I have "heard" that you can use these images when you are "teaching someone about something." Best to get a legal opinion though!!!

wordcloud profile image

wordcloud 4 years ago

Hi akirchner Thank you for the informaton, its interesting but I still have few questions and concerns regarding Images or copyright law. At present I'm in mid launch of a new blog/site dicussing Game Reviews and gaming in general ( However I ideally need to show images/photos of these games on my site.

Would it be legel for me to take images from the Creator of the games and publish them on my website, or would I need to contact the creators every time I wished to do a new post? I'm fairly sure it would be legal for me to buy the games myself and then take photos which I post to my site?

One last question if you don't mind, would be TV related, if I were to take a screen shot of a TV show could I legally show that on my site? Thanks for your time.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Miguel - I would say yes indeed but then I'm not an attorney~~ I do believe the things you are doing totally attributes/goes back to the artist though and think in all certainty that should be fair use - good luck to you in your endeavors!

Miguel 5 years ago

So here's a question. I wrote a song as a tribute to a known musical artist who has inspired me. Now, in order to create a you tube video from my song, I have created a video omage to this artist with my song playing in the background. The video introduces the song, and my band, and then uses pictures of said artist throughout to show different periods of his life. The pictures I used, I just found on fan sites, most of which do not even say who's photos they are, so I obviously don't have permission. Is this fair use?

LaniK profile image

LaniK 5 years ago from Minnesota

Wow! Great article, great topic! Another bookmark for me.

BusinessTime profile image

BusinessTime 5 years ago from Twin Cities

This is a great hub -- great information for the hubbers out there who don't realize that crediting someone for their copyright doesn't mean you're not infringing on their rights. (I use Creative Commons images exclusively on all of my hubs.) Great topic, comprehensively explored -- thanks for the great resource!

elucidator profile image

elucidator 5 years ago from SoCal

This helps so much. I tried to read the Microsoft Clip Art legal agreement but am clueless. It appears they are for common use, and I do put a link to the source.

InfinityVal profile image

InfinityVal 5 years ago from NNY

Very helpful - I see I have some 'cleaning up' to do with the images on my site. Are microsoft office clip art images in the public domain? I don't see anything about attribution.

Thanks, Val

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Business Time - Thanks so much - I agree - oftentimes you get paralyzed by not knowing what is okay to use and that was my goal~ Score!! Thanks for the read!

BusinessTime profile image

BusinessTime 5 years ago from Twin Cities

This is a great hub! I write frequently about copyright infringement, and it's great to read about what you CAN do as opposed to strictly what you CAN'T do! Thanks for the fantastic resource.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Wendi- glad it helped~

Smithroyal78 - Thanks for the read and glad it makes sense.

smithroyal78 profile image

smithroyal78 5 years ago

Great info and gives good clarity over copyright issues.

wendi_w profile image

wendi_w 5 years ago from Midwest

Thank you for this amazingly well researched hub. This is a question I recently began asking of myself since returning to hub pages after a bit of a hiatus. I want to make sure now that I am doing things correctly but was not sure.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Glad you liked legalese - thanks for the read!

legalese profile image

legalese 5 years ago

Thanks for the clarifications on the use of copyrighted material and public domain material. Great hub.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Good points, Dolores - and isn't it fantastic when someone answers you and you get to use the picture??? I did that with my piece on the Iditarod and someone in England okayed me to use an old, old picture. It was awesome.

It certainly is complicated these days on the Internet but it is important to do what's 'right' - I'm like you though now...if I can snap the pics myself, that's what I do - so no worries!

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

Hi, Audrey - voted up and bookmarked. Now another problem for us here at HP is that if you use several photos from one source, and link to each one, 'they' don't like that - it can fall into the excessive linking category. Most of mine are public domain, due to the history angle and many of my garden hubs use my own pix. One time I just fell in love with a picture and so wanted to use it. So I emailed the site owner and asked, offering to give her a link if I could use the picture. She said yes, very nice lady and I was tickled pink.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Very glad you found it helpful, Pat and thanks so much for the read! Best of luck in all your endeavors!

Pat DubĂ© 5 years ago

Thank you so much for your research, honesty and making this available to the rest of us hubbers. I just asked this question and that is what directed me to this hub. I agree with you whole heartedly that we need to do it legally and correctly.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for sharing, Glenn - and I try to do that as much as possible, too though sometimes it just doesn't work out. You're doing the very best thing though and again, thanks for the read!

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

I have made many of my own images for use in my hubs but there are also cases where I used images with CC license and stated the required attribution. But there is so much more to understand and you clearly explained all the details. Excellent!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

LLW - I totally agree and that was what I was getting at...we should never steal from another to make ourselves look better. Thanks so much for your superb comment!

L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

You've provided scads of good answers and almost as many good questions. As creators ourselves, we should understand how important copyright infringement is.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks E for stopping by and welcome to Hubpages. Glad my hub could be of use to you!

E Warkentin 6 years ago

Wow! That's a lot of information to take in, but very useful. I was wondering the same about the images I've used for my first three hubs. Thanks so much for your hard and valuable work!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks Buryshane for the read and for your kind comment. I think I am passionate about most things to be honest and that does include my writing.

buryshane profile image

buryshane 6 years ago from (Delhi) India

I must say that overall I am really impressed with this hub.It is easy to see that you are passionate about your writing.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for the tag cerey_runyon - but it isn't about the money - it is just about acknowledgment and legal use of the images. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

cerey_runyon profile image

cerey_runyon 6 years ago from Galax Virginia

Excellent article!!!

On some of my tree surgery pages I would be flattered if someone used them with a link back to my site; however if they were used to make money I would want to be paid for the use of my images

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Glad to be of help - and welcome to Hubpages!

jo miller profile image

jo miller 6 years ago from Tennessee

Very informative for a new hubber. I had these same questions. I'll bookmark this for future reference.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks so much for commenting, Zarko - I have to finish doing the same. Even though I attributed them properly, I did not provide a link so I need to redo those and add the link directly to the person just because as you say, I think it is the right thing to do!

ZarkoZivkovic profile image

ZarkoZivkovic 6 years ago from Serbia

Amazingly detailed Hub, I need to go over some of my Hubs and other blogs and check my images, I'm sure there will be a few that I need to take down and replace.

What you said is absolutely true, copying an image is like copying someone's Hub or article, it is their work and shouldn't be taken for granted.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Sure thing!

haris 6 years ago

Thanks! :))))

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Linking to a website is perfectly fine unless it comes up as 'unacceptable' - sometimes that happens on hubpages for reasons I'm not sure about. It is the use of IMAGES that I'm talking about.

haris 6 years ago

Thanks for the explanation. I emailed the website owner that I like to use their images, and was replied that I cannot use them, not even JUST putting their website link without getting their image. Funny tho.

But in a case of, putting others website link in a my webpage cannot be said illegal-use for sure. Correct me if I am wrong.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

It's my understanding that ONLY those images that are on the internet with creative commons licenses should be used, so the images from websites should not be used unless they have such licenses readily available - the example above showed that.

I verified this with members of hubpages staff and they agreed that ALL images should be creative common licensed or were ineligible for use.

That said, I put a text capsule beneath the image and then go and copy the link (like to flickr) directly and paste it in so that someone can merely click on the image and then link to the person if desired.

If the images are designated public domain in wikipedia for example, then no attribution is necessary but just for my own benefit, I put public domain - just as I put my own name under the photo if I took it - so there is no question about where I got it.

You can always request from the website owners to use their images - you are welcome to inquire of anyone at any time of course - but hubpages and other sites recommend having the response in writing - i.e. email for proof if needed.

harris 6 years ago

I have a question, I don't know if I missed out reading the whole article. Really helpful tho :). Thanks.

And so, if I am going to get some images from other websites and on each, add the text capsule containing information of the image originate website.

Do you think I still need to notify the website owners that I use their images?

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for stopping by, siouksie, and welcome to HP!

siouksie profile image

siouksie 6 years ago from Western Australia

Thanks for a great hub! Just the information I was looking for starting out on Hubpages! :)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

SO - I guess thank you for stopping by and good luck with that theory.

Serial Offender 6 years ago

I take any image I want to use and use it. If anyone complains (they have't so far in 18 months)I will delete it. Sometimes I transform them in photoshop, often not.

Most images are so widely pirated any thought of enforcing copyright is a forlorn hope. I don't bother complaining about my content that is stolen either. It just takes too long.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Terell - Thanks so much for the read! And hopefully I did explain it so folks can understand it.

Freya - I agree and in my little blond head, it is always important to 'get the facts'. Thanks for reading!

Freya Cesare profile image

Freya Cesare 6 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

Thank you for this information, Audrey. This is something that missed from our attention from time to time and your info really helpful. Thanks. ^_^

Terell 6 years ago

Wow, you really did an amazing job teaching me about this!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Susan for reading! Hope it is helpful to you as well.

susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Wow..this is wonderful and I'm sure many hubpages members will renovate lots of hubs now that you added such transparency to these topics! Thumbs up and helpful to all.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks so much for reading, Brian - and for leaving a comment! Wishing you happy hub'ing and hoping the info helps a bunch!

Brian Whyte profile image

Brian Whyte 6 years ago

This is so many questions the provision of linked-sites for further information makes for easy reference & further research options..

Thanks for taking time to answer questions on so many of our minds..

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for cycling through, Micky - and hope to be of use to y'all. The research was great - maybe it'll stick in my head for 5 seconds!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Very useful and very informative! I'll have to come back again and again!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thank you so much for your positive addition to my hub, Duchess! It was a fruitful endeavor as I did learn so much and for that I am grateful. I did not really know how I was going to put it all together though and was surprised at the end result.

This confirms my theory that I should gather information and then let it flow out of me as it usually comes out in a form better than when I fret over it so!

Thanks so much for taking the time to tag me here and on facebook! Hope it helps!!

Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

absolutely brilliant. Well researched, well presented and chocked full of information we all need to know. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I have it book marked and will certainly refresh my memory before I ever copy and paste another photo again.

Very well done!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

RS - Thanks so much for commenting and I'm so glad I could be helpful to others as well. I know what you mean - it niggled away at me and I just wanted to know for sure what to do. Sometimes it pays to just 'do it' and dig in and see what you can find out for yourself - much satisfaction to be had - and much gratitude for y'all who read about it!

Richard Stephen 6 years ago

I'm glad somebody did all the research I had been planning to do for a long time. You did a good job of explaining things and motivated me to make sure I do things on the up and up. Thanks for the great hub!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for stopping by, Kyriana and glad it can be useful to you! Yes, there are many misconceptions about attribution but I think the good folks at HP are trying to help us clear those all up. There are going to be some videos coming out soon to help as a Learning Center type deal and also there is more information on the HP blog on this subject! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and be attuned to the rules of attribution. That actually helps all of us! (No worries on posting twice - that happens to me sometimes - and will just delete the second one)

Kyriana profile image

Kyriana 6 years ago from Midwest US

Great information! I learn more here everyday from such great and sharing writers.

I had always used google search for any photos I've added and referenced the source in the caption like from I was under they impression that if proper credit was given as to where the photo came from that was legal.

Thank you so much for sharing!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Nell - learned a lot doing it so that is good! Now if I can just remember it - that is the question...but then again, it's here in black and white, eh so I should have a shot at it. Knowing me though, I'll probably go 'wow - interesting hub - I wonder who that gal is! Oh yeah - it's ME!'

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, Audrey, well done for all your hard work, and thanks for doing all the research for us, I know now that if I need to find out anything like this, I will just pop over and take a peek! lol great stuff, cheers nell

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks so much for commenting and glad to be of help healthy9144! Welcome to HP!

healthy9144 profile image

healthy9144 6 years ago

Thanks for the great content. As a new hubber, this is something which I have been curious about also. You answered all my questions.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks Crewman6 for reading - and I learned an awful lot of stuff doing this - so this is good! I do make a lot of my own images and videos even but sometimes it helps (me) to know the rules!

Crewman6 profile image

Crewman6 6 years ago

Fabulous hub, with plenty of hard information and serious thoughts. Keep us on our toes! I try to use images properly, but even more so, I try to make my own. You've given me lots of food for thought here. Also, great links! I've bookmarked this page for the quick references.

I'll refer back to this hub over and over. Thank you!!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks Equealla for adding to the hub! I know that now, too because it just happened to me recently in fact. I used a video and the link went bad and then went to check on it and it was because it was disallowed. Again, thanks for confirming that though!!

equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

I have seen videos on You Tube where they have removed, for instance the soundtrack, and the administrators have put a note like this " the soundtrack had been removed because of a violation of copyright"

We will be safe to use the videos, because, if a person publish his work, he has the option to dis-allow the embed link, and other people will not be able to use it.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Prasetio for reading and glad to be of help with sites!

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

This information really useful for us. Thanks for share many link to us. So we can free use many pictures to complete our writing. When we browse picture from google sometimes we can't get the picture, it said "forbidden to access", so this site protecting others to make copied the picture. Thank you very much.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks so much, MM for the comment - I think eventually there could be more 'crackdowns' on copyright violations so I guess that is where I've decided to err on the side of caution and make sure I attribute with a solid link back to the image so that I can hopefully prove my source.

I agree that some of it has to do with 'fair use' and all that, but then again, just want to have all my little duckies in a row and now make a mistake.

I've just gotten in the habit of linking directly back to the photo I use if not my own or not a public domain image and then I know I never have to think about it again - hopefully!

Again, thanks so much for reading and glad you enjoyed it and the resources. I learned a lot researching it myself!

multimastery 6 years ago

Hi akirchner, first of all I'd like to commend you on a wonderful hub! It's obvious that you put a lot of time, and effort into this. the only images I primarily use are from free sites like Photobucket and similar where it says the images are free to use. I don't know how true this is but I haven't given it much thought. I figure if it's really a violation I will be tracked down and warned, but it hasn't happened to this day. I will bookmark your hub and definitely learn from it and put tips you recommend into practice. Thanks for the resources... it seems tho that sites like that creative commons search engine should have gone further to exclusively include only information that has creative commons license, but instead they look like just another search engine, so I guess we still have to do our research. I'd say overall to be aware & sensitive about these issues, but don't stress over it. Most professional photographers I know put a watermark or signature on their images if they're really adamant about receiving credit for their work each & every time. Great hub, visit again soon;)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer - that is what Simone at Hubpages is saying as well. It is great to use the pics but we should be attributing them, and with a hard link even at that. I've been going through all my hubs and redoing them which is time consuming but at least I'll feel better I think when I'm done! Again, thanks for adding to the hub!

Jennifer profile image

Jennifer 6 years ago

This is a great hub. I always use Flickr, under the creative commons section, but don't always attribute the photo the person at Flickr. I will certainly start doing that. Thanks!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Skyfire: Thanks so much for stopping by. It should be really, really clear though if you do an advanced search once you hit on the criteria you are looking for - for example kites. Then doing an advanced search with only images that are CC licensed and can be used for commercial use, you should only hit on those that you should legally use. A couple of the hubs mentioned above walk you totally through it as well. I know it takes a while to get used to all the selections you need to make to get to the 'right ones' but once you get it, you won't forget it! Thanks again for reading and see you on the hubs!

skyfire profile image

skyfire 6 years ago

Informative hub. I think that creative commons search engine is bit flawed while showing results in flickr images(It's hard to see which image is under CC sometimes). Or maybe that's just me :)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

NS - Thanks so much for stopping by. I hear what you are saying and I guess the important issue is if you have to prove fair use, it might be a problem then in terms of someone flagging it. I just don't want to be caught in that predicament I guess and that's why I decided to do the research.

I'm not sure if HP will ever be able to 'solve' this for any of us since we are the writers and we are supposed to take precautions against copyright infringement but they are working to help us make it easier for attribution, which is the major issue I think - or using images that ARE free to use. I would err on the side of caution each and every time I think just to be safe myself.

Using the sites and techniques in this hub though, I think it is safe. Continued good luck in the future!

ns1209 profile image

ns1209 6 years ago from UK - England

I may have been a little guilty of this on some of my hubs - not really intentionally though. I normally write something about the source and sometimes link to it but sometimes I don't especially in my earlier hubs!

I think the best bet is to use flickr advanced search and then link to the photo. I will also check the other image resources!

Sometimes though I think it is OK to use an image of somebody or a product if it promotes it or them. For example I often use the Amazon images and I think that is "fair use" as it benefits them, me, the reader and the company that made the product.

Videos are good as they are always linked back to the creator so that is fair as long as the content they have is legal.

It is all so complicated though!

Great hub and hopefully Hubpages will make it easier to find excellent images and attribute them correctly!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Katie - hopefully it makes a difference. It is a lot to absorb but think we are on the right track towards getting it 'nailed'!

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

This is fantastic, HubPages is better for this. Now I expect to see some great images on everyone's new hubs. Thankk so the images and video help.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Marisa - Thanks so much for commenting and adding that point. This is true - always take a look at the 'bottom line' so to speak and you can't go wrong.

Holle - Ah yes - It truly was on my mind so decided to put the old mind to rest on that point at least!

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Wonderful info! You sure did your research, Buckie!

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney

Brilliant! The only thing I'd say about the Creative Commons search is - be careful! I've tried it a couple of times and somehow, found myself looking at photos that weren't actually CC licensed. Still not sure how it happened, but just be sure to double-check before you copy.

That's why I just use Flickr Advanced Search these days because the photos are so clearly marked I know I can't go wrong!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Hi Dawn - Thanks so much for stopping by. Actually that's how I got to thinking about all of this as there are so many images out there and the FAQ's didn't really explain it to me. I used some Google images and then started researching it and realized that I needed to make SURE that they were either public domain images or images that are under the Creative Commons license. I would make sure that you redo any that you have doubts about just because I think one of these days they will activate trackers and it could be a legal issue.

I just want to have all my little duckies in a row and make sure all parts of my hubs are within the lines. Hopefully it'll be helpful to others on here as well!

dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

wow I just assumed that you could use the images if there was no fee linked to them or stated any copy rights. for instance on yahoo images can you pull an image from there and use it? I may have to go back and take some images off of mine if true, what is the legality on that....thanks for this article.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks very much for adding to the information of this hub, Gracenotes. Your points are all very well put.

I think we can only make HP a better site and ourselves better writers by understanding the legalities of copyright issues no matter what the medium. I admit that I had a hard time understanding the FAQs and then seeing some of the hubs on HP really confuse me as well. Hopefully, we have better clarification now and will continue to get more so that we can all make HP a stronger and better site.

Thanks again so much for your detailed comment! Audrey

gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 6 years ago from North Texas

Smartly done!

Yes, it is hard to learn and correct things that one has done out of ignorance. That was me. But I'm getting better at it.

I agree with the thoughts you've shared in this hub. Also, for record-keeping purposes, it might be a good idea to keep the emails that granted you specific permission to use certain photos. I admit that I haven't archived these emails, but then again, I haven't approached many photographers.

HubPages is an important site, and is becoming more and more so. I could see them beginning to crack down at some future date on illegal uses of images. As you said, technologically, it's possible. It would indeed be a rude awakening for some hubbers in that event.

Thanks for sharing your work here.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks for stopping by, BKC - me, too on Creative Commons!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Super useful. I'll bookmark and save. I'm glad you mentioned creative commons because I like that website.

Rated up! Yay!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks so much for stopping by, Shawn - glad you found it helpful! I was actually very happy to do the research if it meant that I understood it better and I think I do! Happy hubbing and thanks again for the kudos.

Shawn Scarborough profile image

Shawn Scarborough 6 years ago from The Lone Star State

Wow! This is an awesome hub. This is some great information that everyone who creates hubs will find useful. I can tell you did a lot of research for this one. Thanks for all your hard work on this hub! Voted Up and Awesome.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

HH - Thanks so much for calling me friend! I do truly appreciate your friendship and so glad I could be of help to you - and myself as well. I just always like to make sure I'm staying 'in the lines' - funny little thing about me!

Jane Grey - Thanks so much for stopping by - and I was so confused by so much information that seemed contradictory that I just decided I needed to clarify it once and for all for me! Thanks to Simone as well for reviewing what I wrote and making sure I was getting the point! Hopefully now - onward and upward!

Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon

Very helpful, especially your links to Creative Commons. I appreciated your willingness to not only point out where we may be wrong, but also to give us productive tips to remedy the situation. Thanks for all your sound research and hard work! I think you really got the HubPages staff thinking and working in this area now.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Oh, oh, there I go on a holiday of her Majesty's pleasure. When I need somebody to dumb more into it I will call on you hahaha. Seriously, that took a lot off my mind because I was like you never known whether I am aloud to use them or not. Your my good friend. Thank you.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, David for adding your wisdom to the hub as well - very true - and that's what I was pointing out. Many of the images that folks think are legal to use are not and if they ever start cracking down on tracing these images on the Internet (which they can do), it might be a rude awakening if anyone has used images that were not free to use. I personally love adding my own videos because they mean a lot to me and if I can intensify my hub at all with them, it is double the pleasure so to speak! Same goes with my own photos. Sometimes though it is just not possible to use your own 'stuff' but when I do, I just want to make 100% sure it is all legal. Again, thanks for stopping by!

David Russell 6 years ago

I never before used graphics in my hubs other than drawings by Frank Furlong for the children's storeies and poems and my own photos for adult stories. Now I've applied a new format. For example if you read my "3 Days In Singapore" or "Remembering Yugoslavia" (Rusesell-D); they post this week, you'll note an infusion of visual aids. They make the story more interesting and attract a greater number of readers. Just be certain you use FREE PHOTOS and not those FOR SALE. David Rusell

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Dim - I try and have as many sides to myself as possible don't ya know? That way I can cover it all - I believe it might be called 'multiple personalities' but don't quote me on that!

Receiving kudos from you is high praise indeed and it just might go to my little blond head. Seriously, I researched it because I wanted to just 'get it right' and I've noticed some goofy things and wanted to set myself straight on them. Then I thought 'self (IP) why let all that good info go to waste?'

I shall be back to being IP shortly - I have many, many stories to tell and it is good to keep my 'audience' (or my Audreyience) guessing is it not as to which character of mine shall show up? Alas, I am not a bubble-headed blond and I am a multi-faceted just will have to look forward to that accordion-playing youtube video I'm going to unleash on here one of these days!

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

What a lot of work you have put into this Audrey and how well put together it is! Very impressive and I am worried because I may have to stop calling you Insane Person from now on! Wow! That would really suck :-(

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Hey Gus - Thanks so much for stopping by!

Your points are exactly correct and I totally agree with all the information you have so beautifully added to the hub! Thanks so much for the great information.

In my roundabout way, that was what I was trying to stress here - that these folks who create all this beauty on the Internet don't want or need us using their 'stuff' in any way that does not bring them the glory and recognition that they so well deserve. If we are not helping them achieve the limelight then I believe we are in fact stealing a bit of it from them - and stealing is a thing I don't want to be associated with to be honest!

Thanks again for all your wonderfully articulated points!

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Audrey - Now THAT is what a person can call a great hub! I would point out something that many people often intend to use as attribution, but they don't use it correctly. That is, "Courtesy of XYZ." You should use that only if you have asked for and received XYZ's permission to use their material. Otherwise, the form should more properly be, "Photo (etc.): XYZ(plus additional ID)." If there is a copyright or trademark involved, that information should be included.

I write for another company that provides access to Associated Press photos. The attribution line is designated by the company - and I am not to use those AP photos for any purp[ose other than to accompany articles I write only for the company.

Probably a good test for using images owned by others is to ask yourself, "Does this use truly help the real owner?" Other than for those things, you should use images that are available under CC license or are in the public domain or are images you bought and paid for in copyright free form.

Gus :-)))

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, Lela for stopping by - and glad to be of help.

LaMamaLoli - Thanks as well for the comment. I think we are all in the same boat - a lot of info and we need places we can go to get the facts! Glad to be of help but I really have had these questions myself and am happy to have gotten my answers!

LaMamaLoli profile image

LaMamaLoli 6 years ago from London

Fantastic hub. Am going to bookmark it because I am sure I will forget half of it! Really useful and written really well. Very clear for those of us who need things spelt out!!

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Very useful. Quite thorough! I'm bookmarking this.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon Author

Thanks, CJ for dropping by - glad to be of help!

climberjames profile image

climberjames 6 years ago from Steel City

Great information, just what I needed!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article