They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This much is certainly true: There’s nothing like a few gorgeous pictures to add some extra oomph to your latest article or blog post. But with the huge surge in content creators, blogs, online magazines, and so on, it can be hard to know which images have been “borrowed,” and which are legitimately usable.
There are plenty of stock photography sites available online like iStockPhoto. There are even some sites that offer free stock images — like Stock Xchng and Stock Free Images. But a service that gives image creators more freedom and everyone else more choice is a site called Creative Commons.
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that lets anyone share essentially anything or everything they’ve created (including photos, videos, and more). Consequently, it gives you and me – bloggers and writers — much more variety in the content we seek.
If you are a photographer and want to share some photos with the world, you can select one of six licenses, each of which determines how much freedom you want your imagery or content altered. If you are re-using the content, you can look at the various Creative Commons codes and then see how you are able to use the content.
Rather than just taking stock photos that may appear thousands of times on other blog posts and websites, you can search through Creative Commons’ content to find just the right media to suit your needs.
That’s great. Keep in mind, though, that unlike a stock photo site, where you have a central database of imagery, Creative Commons content is scattered around the entire Internet. In addition to using the search tool on the Creative Commons site, you can also use Google to find content, browse Flickr, or search Wikimedia. And those are just the most popular options!
For those who apply Creative Commons’ licenses to their content, it’s a great way to freely share your stuffin a way that you’re comfortable with. For those who use Creative Commons’ content, you have legal access to a huge bevy of media that you may have not previously been aware of. It’s win-win no matter how you look at it!