Guide: How to Use Creative Commons Images from Flickr

Flickr is an excellent place to find images that are available under a Creative Commons License. You may embed these images on your own website as long as your intended use meets the conditions specified in the license* and that you give proper attribution and credits to the original author.

PS:Some Creative Commons images are licensed as “Attribution Non-Commercial” and thus they may not be used on websites that, say, carry advertising. For more, see this PDF report on defining non-commercial use.

Searching Creative Commons Images on Flickr

Flickr has a dedicated page to help you easily find images that are available under Creative Commons. Or you may use alternative tools like Flickr CC, Flickr Storm and Comp Fight that are in some ways better than Flickr’s own search interface.

Using Creative Commons Images from Flickr

If you are using an image from Flickr, all they require is that the image on the external site should link back to Flickr’s page where that image is originally hosted.

The problem is that Flickr’s current style of attribution doesn’t meet the Creative Commons guidelines for attribution which require that you:

  • Cite the author’s screen name (link to the author’s profile page).
  • Cite the work’s title or name (link the name directly to the original work).
  • Cite the specific CC license the work is under (link to the license on the CC website).

The HTML code that Flickr provides for embedding Creative Commons images on to other sites satisfies only one of the three guidelines for attribution.

You can however use an online tool called ImageCodr to generate embed code that meets all the attribution guidelines of Creative Commons as well as Flickr. Just put the URL of any Flickr image into this tool and you get a code that satisfies all the requirements.

There’s little scope for errors as the tool will throw up an error message if you try using an image that doesn’t have the CC license.

A small issue though. The author of the tool inserts an invisible link to his website in the generated HTML code which you may want to remove prior to using the code.

Generate Attribution Code via Bookmarklet

Flickr CC Bookmarklet (Drag this link to your bookmarks toolbar)

If you frequently use Flickr images on your site, use the above bookmarklet to quickly generate attribution code directly from any Flickr photo page.

Related: Flickr Guide: How to Do Everything with Flickr

Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal

Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.

Amit has developed several popular Google add-ons including Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory


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