I love ZEN presentations. For that, you need pictures. Many pictures. Good pictures. Fortunately, it is technically easy to integrate photos from the internet into your own site. What is challenging, however, is getting nice pictures legally.
- First, use image databases whose pictures are released under the terms of the CC0 license.1 E.g. pxhere2 or openclipart.3
- Then evaluate image databases whose pictures have been published under any different Creative Commons license. E.g. Wikimedia4, flicker.com/creativecommons or piqs.de
- But avoid images that are licensed under a CC-??-NC-??5 license.6
- And meticulously fulfill the other conditions, such as attribution. A good place to do that is a page with image credits.
- Finally, be careful if you use an image database that distributes its images under its own license, which is equivalent to a CC0 license, but excludes certain uses after all.7. E.g. pexel8, unsplash9, or pixabay10)
- Avoid, if possible, image databases that mix commercial paid images with free.11 E.g. freephotos or the nounproject
- Definitely avoid meta image databases in any case.12
BackgroundImages, photos, and logos are also subject to copyright law. Often also of the trademark law. Without the photographer or owner granting us the rights of use, we are not allowed to use their photographs and logos. Moreover, even what is pictured can limit our exploitation — while the freedom of art expands our scope. How does a user get out of this ‘snake pit’ unscathed?
On the first attempt, it seems easy. After all, most of the time, the author will only want to ‘illustrate’ her posts. But if she has linked a web store or consulting offer to her site, she earns money indirectly with the images. And thus she uses the images commercially. So again the question is, what can she do?
I have outlined my way above. Two additions to this:
- When it comes to ‘logos’, I search the web presence of the logo owners. Often they tell us explicitly what we can and cannot do with their logos. And this is even true for non-profit organizations, like the OSI((for logo usage cf. https://opensource.org/logo-usage-guidelines/)) or those of the Gimp((for logo usage cf. https://github.com/GNOME/gimp/blob/master/docs/Wilber.xcf.gz.README)).
- When it comes to what is pictured, I follow two rules of thumb:
- Be careful with people and products depicted — they’d rather not.
- Caution with unknown buildings
And in what way is this …
… part of the overarching topic FOSS Compliance? For fulfilling the requirements of FOSS licenses, we have to consider specific individual cases as well as side effects — for software, pictures, or documents. We should unhide trends and write guidelines. Above all, however, we must drive forward the automation of license fulfillment, make our licensing knowledge freely available, cast it into smaller tools, and bring it into larger systems: Because FOSS thrives on freedom through license fulfillment, large and small. That’s what also this article is about.
- We’re allowed to use those for no consideration, after all.
- for licensing see https://pxhere.com/en/license
- for licensing cf. https://openclipart.org/faq
- for licensing cf. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Licensing/de
- for the layer model of CC licenses, see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/
- Because legally even the simplest blog can still be interpreted as a commercial enterprise.
- Challengingly, these databases often allow commercial use, but at the same time prohibit the sale of the images, even in print, or their incorporation into other databases
- for licensing cf. https://www.pexels.com/license/
- for licensing cf. https://unsplash.com/license
- for licensing cf. https://pixabay.com/de/service/license/
- Too great the risk that you pick a non-free image.
- What exactly applies here is very hard to track there.