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Copyright on the Internet

Copyrighting your images has been something that has caused difficulties for designers and photographers everywhere. Sometimes, images are simply taken without permission and others claim the images. Now certain websites allow photographers to make their images public without the worry of copyright infringement. There are two websites that offer this extremely well – Flickr and Istockphoto.

Flickr, in association with Yahoo has very strict rules on copyright infringement. Within Flickr, as a user you have many options of how to copyright and protect your photographs. The variety of copyrights allows a photographer to keep their work protected but still published and also allows for the photographer themselves to have some creative freedom. On their website Yahoo have said on their website that:

“It is Yahoo!’s policy, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who may infringe or repeatedly infringe the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of Yahoo! and/or others.”

This highlights how important copyright is currently especially because of the power of the internet and to the users of such sites as Flickr.

Specifically commenting on Flickr, there are many ways that you can place copyright on your images. Since I’m a Flickr user, below I have included a print screen of how easy it is to copyright your images and how many options are available to you:

As you can see you have a lot of options and links to the creativecommons for advise over copyrighting. I went on this link and found it very useful in explaining the different types of copyright available on websites such as Flickr. Some of the options available are:


You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work – and derivative works based upon it – but only if they give you credit.

You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work – and derivative works based upon it – but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivative Works:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike:
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

To see this information in more detail with further explanations visit the CreativeCommons website.


With these, users can select a specific copyright that works for them and also protect their work while allowing it to be out there on the internet. As well as their copyright being specifically shown alongside the photo, a lot of users include details of how they feel about the copyrighting on their images. For example, a lot of users label their images with copyright and their names and some write in the caption ‘Do not use without permission’ or ‘Please do not reblog any of my images’. Personally, I’ve had an experience with copyright as I really wanted to use somebody’s Flickr photograph with my visual design CD cover, so I found out their email address and sent them a message and they have allowed me to use their work aslong as I credit them, which I feel is completely fair. As a user of Flickr I have never encountered any problems with copyright and when my images have been used and published on other website all credits have been directly linked to me and my Flickr page.


However, what if don’t have any logos, graphics or photographs of your own and you really want to use one without any complications? This is where websites such as Istockphoto become really useful.



iStockphoto is an extremely useful website that have a variety of media content such a stock photos, graphics and audio that designers can purchase for a small price and use within their designs without any copyright complications. On the front page of the website, the creators have said:

“Royalty-Free Stock Photos, Illustrations & More

iStockphoto is the web’s original source for user-generated, royalty-free stock photos, illustrations, video, audio and Flash. Whether you’re a designer, advertiser, entrepreneur or blogger, we have millions of affordable images, vectors and clips to help you tell your story. Join the international community of artists and clients who use iStock every day. Get involved — buy stock, sell stock or both.”

This allows users to upload their content for a commercial purpose but also allows consumers to use the content without copyright infringement and also give back to the users. Also, at the bottom of their home page it says:

“Copyright ©2010 iStockphoto LP. iStockphoto®, iStock®, iStockaudio®, iStockvideo®, iStockalypse™, Vetta® and CopySpace® are trademarks of iStockphoto LP. All other marks are the property of their respective owners”

Highlighting how important copyright is in the design world.



Copyright is essential is a design environment to ensure a sense of fairness, designer rights and also some order. However, it is also good that there are stock websites and variations on copyright to also exhibit some creative license and allows designers to share their work together as somewhat of a community. The power to be able to showcase your work allows for you to be noticed and others to be inspired, which is something these websites aim to achieve.

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