Sourcing images correctly in Chalkdust

Sourcing the images we use in Chalkdust is very important. In particular, when we publish something on the website, we are giving it away for free to everyone on the planet, so it is important that if we are using other people’s work, we (a) have permission, and (b) are sharing it in the way the owner desires. Failure to do this can leaves us in legal trouble.

In short: You can’t just copy and paste from Google.

1. Get permission from the author

Permission to use a picture will come in one of two forms. Either you will ask the author directly whether you can use a picture (this might be you!), or you will search Google Images using “Search tools > Usage rights > Labeled for reuse with modification”

Searching on Google images for usable images

Google image search. Image: No permission required.

If the picture you are proposing is altered in any way, including combining it with other images to form a “composite”, you need to make sure the author is OK with modification.

2. Determine the licence

Images made by article authors or Chalkdust members do not need sourcing or licensing explicitly.

If the author of the image is external, and you have asked for permission directly, you must provide a copy of the email/tweet giving permission.

If you have found the image on Google, you need to click through to the image page to try to find the licensing of the image. Common licence types are “creative commons” or “public domain”. Many websites, even though you have searched using the “Search tools” feature, will not display any licensing information. If you cannot find the licence, you cannot use this image. Websites such as Wikimedia Commons and Flickr are very good for displaying their licences.

3. Write the author and the licence

All licences should go in the caption of the image.

Website only: When writing out the licence, link to the licence’s official page on first mention.


4. If in doubt, ask

That’s it.

Special notes

  • In general, we cannot use Google Maps. Instead, use OpenStreetMap.

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