Is this Picture on Flickr an Original?
Flickr does happen to be among the best resources for Creative Commons pictures. Yet how do you know that the Creative Commons licensed picture that you have found on Flickr is indeed an original asset? Even outside of Flickr, there are so many copied pictures serenading as originals -- including some you find on Google's Image Search.
I do think that Flickr is a better source for original pictures -- but that may not always be true. As my friend, David Marcovitz rightly pointed out that "there's not much to stop someone from downloading any picture (legally or illegally) and posting it to Flickr and putting a Creative Commons License on it! Of course, most of the time, pictures on Flickr are posted by the people who take them, and I tell my students all the time to go to Flickr and search for Creative Commons pictures, but that is far from a guarantee of the picture's true status."
Completely agree with you, David! In fact, I am often asked whether Flickr is a more dependable source for original pictures compared to other sites -- and my answer is in the affirmative because there are a few Flickr features that make this site a better resource for copyright free pictures. But before we reach conclusions, let us ask some questions, similar to the ones David asked in the preceding paragraph:
- Can anyone just create a Flickr account and upload some pictures that are not necessarily their own?
- Can such Flickr members also attribute those pictures to a Creative Commons license?
- Can such members continue doing so forever?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes for the first two questions. Fortunately, the answer is no for the last question!
I must add that it does not pay to be pessimistic about this whole topic. There are indeed millions of genuine Creative Commons pictures on Flickr -- and with a little housekeeping, you can certainly filter out the counterfeit stuff from the real. It also pays to be proactive by doing some research.
This is what I do when I look for Creative Commons licensed pictures on Flickr:
Copied pictures may not have the camera info on Flickr. Most people who upload others' pictures may only have access to an altered or compressed picture that no longer has any EXIF data -- the data that Flickr uses to tell you which camera was used to click the picture. Of course not all pictures are clicked with cameras -- you may want to use some digital art or even a composition created from multiple pictures -- in that case, you may ignore the lack of any camera information.
- If there are a set of pictures clicked by the same photographer -- available on their Flickr profile -- then that may also be something to consider. Most pictures are clicked with digital cameras -- and most photographers click way too many pictures. With larger bandwidth availability and higher megapixel cameras, you may find that there are several pictures similar to the one you have chosen -- that's always a great sign to indicate that the pictures are original.
- If the person has been a Flickr user for many years, then that reputation also counts. People who misuse others' pictures can get banned on Flickr and their accounts can be removed. If you end up finding someone uploading copied pictures to Flickr, you can take a proactive approach. Go to the Flickr page of the copied picture -- scroll down the page and look for a Report abuse link -- yes, the link is very well hidden -- if you cannot find it, use your browser's Find option to locate it!
- Finally, check if this person has a free or Pro account on Flickr. Flickr's free account has many limitations that most professional photographers would not enjoy. I am not saying that Free account users have no right to upload genuine pictures and share them -- rather I am saying that very few offenders will create a Pro account, pay for it, and then upload pictures to share with everyone!
Even if you take all these issues into consideration, there may always be an occasion when you may be fooled -- but at least you tried your best! Remember that being curious and intuitive can help -- and that's where a human can score higher than a computer!
See Also: Attributing Creative Commons Pictures in your PowerPoint Slides
Categories: copyrights, flickr, pictures, powerpoint
April 2003 | May 2003 | December 2003 | January 2004 | February 2004 | March 2004 | April 2004 | May 2004 | June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004 | September 2004 | October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005 | April 2005 | May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006 | February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | May 2006 | June 2006 | July 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006 | October 2006 | November 2006 | December 2006 | January 2007 | February 2007 | March 2007 | April 2007 | May 2007 | June 2007 | July 2007 | August 2007 | September 2007 | October 2007 | November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008 | June 2008 | July 2008 | August 2008 | September 2008 | October 2008 | November 2008 | December 2008 | January 2009 | February 2009 | March 2009 | April 2009 | May 2009 | June 2009 | July 2009 | August 2009 | September 2009 | October 2009 | November 2009 | December 2009 | January 2010 | February 2010 | March 2010 | April 2010 | May 2010 | June 2010 | July 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010 | November 2010 | December 2010 | January 2011 | February 2011 | March 2011 | April 2011 | May 2011 | June 2011 | July 2011 | August 2011 | September 2011 | October 2011 | November 2011 | December 2011 | January 2012 | February 2012 | March 2012 | April 2012 | May 2012 | June 2012 | July 2012 | August 2012 | September 2012 | October 2012 | November 2012 | December 2012 | January 2013 | February 2013 | March 2013 | April 2013 | May 2013 | June 2013 | July 2013 | August 2013 | September 2013 | October 2013 | November 2013 | December 2013 | January 2014 | February 2014 | March 2014 | April 2014 | May 2014 | June 2014 | July 2014 | August 2014 | September 2014 | October 2014 | November 2014 | December 2014 | January 2015 | February 2015 | March 2015 |