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Finding re-usable images in Flickr

Once again, apologies for the drought between posts but when duty calls, I have to answer and it doesn’t leave me with a lot of time for anything else!

Flickr can be a great source for re-useable images and there are plenty that are high quality, interesting and artistic so let me give you some instructions on how to go about finding them!

Go to Flickr (http://www.flickr.com) and type in your search term, and click on the magnifying glass icon or press ‘Enter’ on your keyboard:
Flickr search1A window will open with your search results. Toward the top of this page, select the drop down menu next to ‘Any license’ (‘Any license’ indicates that currently your search results are for images under any kind of licensing)

Flickr search2

Select the licence type that applies to your desired use. Most of the options are straight forward, but you might be wondering about this one: ‘U.S Government works’ Generally speaking, U.S. Government produced works are not subject to copyright. Government works will be legitimate, so there will be no need to evaluate the work to ensure that it’s legitimate. (I’m confident with Creative Commons and since for my purpose of writing non-commercial instructions with no modifications to the images themselves, so any Creative Commons licence will be fine.)

Flickr search 3

A new window will open with a search refined to only your selection criteria. Select an image that appeals to you and then click on it to find out more detailed information about the type of CC licence attached and the details we’ll need for the citation. (I’m going to pick the one on the left in the image below)

Flickr search4

From the next page, I can ascertain that the creator (‘victorpuntes’), title (’07_Optical image of cobalt onto HOPG substrate’) and type of licence attached to the image (CC BY-NC-ND).  Flickr search5

If you’re not so familiar with Creative Commons, to check the version of the licence (which you will need to do for your attribution!) and to read more about how you can use the image, click on the text ‘Some rights reserved’:Flickr search6

This will open up a window to the Creative Commons licence where you can see the shortened label (CC BY-NC-ND) and the version of the licence (2.0). If you look further down, you’ll see information about how you can use the work and under what conditions.

Flickr search7

So, I know I can use the image and I now know all the information required to cite the work:

07_Optical image of cobalt onto HOPG substrate (https://www.flickr.com/photos/victorpuntes/3606438771/) by victorpuntes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

Or if your work will be digital, you might want to hyperlink sections to shorten the overall citation:

07_Optical image of cobalt onto HOPG substrate by victorpuntes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Use common sense when selecting works licensed under Creative Commons

Anyone can attach a Creative Commons licence to a work – including people that don’t understand copyright. This means that sometimes you will find things licensed under Creative Commons when they shouldn’t be.  So always ask yourself if it makes sense that the work has been licensed under Creative Commons.  Is it likely that the uploader had the right to upload that image and license it under Creative Commons?

For the image I was interested in, a quick browse of the images in the Victor Puntes’ photostream (which you can browse by clicking on the uploader’s name) revelaed that he is a professor that specialises in Nano Oncology, so it makes sense and is reasonable to infer that these are his images and he has the right to upload them under a Creative Commons licence.

In Australia, using and linking people out to where they can access pirated or illegitimate material is an infringement called ‘authorising infringement’, so it’s important to avoid using works that are suspicious!


Good luck with your Flickr image hunting!


Other Image credits:

Glass nanoparticle suspended in an optical cavity  by UCL Mathematical and Physical Sciences (CC BY 2.0)

Nanoparticle Characterization by EMSL (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

20_TEM image of 2D assembly of Co nanoparticles by victorpuntes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

08_Optical image of 8 nm cobalt nanoparticles onto HOPG substrate deposited applying a weak magnetic field by victorpuntes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

27_TEM image of Pt Nanoparticles by victorpuntes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


5 thoughts on “Finding re-usable images in Flickr

  1. so can we use images that has “non-commercial”, at university environment, on posters & flyers or other promotional materials? say if we are promoting a student event that is free for students to attend…?


    Posted by Nick K | August 20, 2015, 5:55 am
  2. Reblogged this on Windlight Magazine and commented:
    Great article on how to find re-usable images on Flickr from Deakin Copyright:


    Posted by John | August 20, 2015, 1:53 pm


  1. Pingback: Image usage on websites and Copyright – Learning Innovations BCEL Deakin Business + Law - July 26, 2016

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