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A Guide to Image Licenses (And How to Protect Yourself)


Flickr, Vimeo and Wikimedia contain open resources that are searchable by media type and can be screened for Creative Commons licenses that ensure they are open to use. This post is also attached as a PDF: feel free to share it with your students!


Flickr provides a Creative Commons-licensed photo collection which makes the filtering process easy. Here’s how to search for a licensed image in Flickr:

  1. Go to
  2. Click See more under each license collection.Licensing 1.JPG
  3. Enter your keyword in the search bar. 
  4. The license information is at the bottom of each photo. It’s a link! Click it for more info on the Creative Commons website.

Licensing 2.JPG


All Creative Commons licenses require that you attribute the images that you use. Your citation should include the title of the photo, name of the creator, a link to the website where the image is hosted and the type of Creative Commons license.


Here is how to attribute the above image: first, link to the URL of the photo. Next, link to the author’s webpage (found by clicking on their name below the photo). And finally, link to the Creative Commons site (found by clicking on the license type below the photo).


So, the final result would look something like: Somewhere between Asia and Europe by Rojs Rozentals is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.





All photos are either released under Creative Commons licenses or in the public domain. Wikimedia Commons’ simple structure lets you easily find image license information. Here’s how to search for a licensed image in Wikimedia:

  1. Go to
  2. Type your keyword into the search bar:Licensing 3.JPG
  3. Scroll down and click on your image. Scroll down again and the license info appears:Licensing 4.JPG

Here is an example of how to attribute the above image: White Pine Montessori School in Moscow, Idaho, USA) by Steven Pavlov @Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY SA 3.0.





Vimeo provides a separate Creative Commons-licensed video collection which makes the filtering process much easier. Here’s how to search for a licensed video in Vimeo:

  1. Here’s one option: go to and type your keyword in the search box:Licensing 5.JPG
  2. Click More Filters.Licensing 6.JPG
  1. Click the desired license collection.Licensing 7.JPG
  2. Here’s another way: from, click Browse all 1M videos.Licensing 8.JPG
  3. Click the magnifying glass to search within the collection.Licensing 9.JPG
  4. On the video’s page, click More under the title.Licensing 10.JPG
  5. The About window shows the licensing. Click the icons to go to the Creative Commons page for more info.Licensing 11.JPG


Here’s an example of how to attribute the above video: Pizza_Pasta_PowerSchool by What! Productions is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0


Hope you found this helpful!