Tackling Copyright Issues with Flickr Storm

August 17, 2008 · Posted in citizenship, graphics, Tools 

In my classroom, we deal with digital images on a daily basis. They end up in our digital videos, PowerPoint stacks, blogs, and posters. My “Teaching with Technology” students are required to have Flickr accounts to organize and share their photos, and we spend a lot of time learning how to resize and repurpose images for different media.

A couple of well-chosen search terms entered to Google will return a plethora of images on any imaginable topic. And therein lies the problem; it’s so easy to find the images that we want that we tend to forget that every image published on the web is copyrighted. In order to legally use that image outside of the classroom, we must have permission of the copyright owner.

As a teacher of teachers, I feel doubly responsible about modeling the right behavior for my post-secondary students. I need to make sure that my teacher candidates know the copyright ropes so that they can properly instruct their students when they become teachers. That’s why I love Flickr Storm.

Flickr Storm is a web-based service that allows you to search Flickr for photos by license. The key is to use the Advanced menu for all of your searching.

When you click the Advanced menu link, you are presented with a drop-down menu with a choice of license types. The majority of photos posted to Flickr are licensed under the “Attribution” agreement, meaning that you can use the photo in a commercial or non-commercial project as long as you give credit to the copyright owner.

There are many other nice features of Flickr Storm. The attribution URL is clearly shown so that you can copy/paste the attribution information into your project. You can create an online library (a “tray” in Storm lingo) of found images on a topic with a URL that you can share with others if you want.

Using Flickr Storm for searches helps me call attention to copyright issues with my students, provides them with a rich source of usable images for their projects, and gives credit to the copyright owners for their work. It’s an essential element of working with digital images.


6 Responses to “Tackling Copyright Issues with Flickr Storm”

  1. Chris L on August 17th, 2008 9:33 am

    It’s also useful to note that you can search by license within Flickr using the advanced search as well (it’s an option toward the bottom).

  2. skipvia on August 17th, 2008 9:51 am

    True enough, and this is the way to go when you need one or two images. But I really like Flickr Storm’s ability to save multiple images in the tray for storage and later perusal, and the fact that attribution information is so readily available.

    Either way, you end up reinforcing the idea that you need to pay attention to copyright issues when you search the web for images–and that’s a very good thing.

  3. colin on March 12th, 2009 10:00 pm

    Thank you for this article and great comments. I use copyscape to make sure my text content is unique.
    Flikr Storm sounds like a photo content equivalent.Great!

  4. RC Boats on April 5th, 2009 4:30 pm

    Flickr has come a long way to discourage the use of non licensed photos. It appears they are working hard to address copyright issues. As a semi-professional photographer who has had work “borrowed” I can really appreciate their efforts.

    Your post was very enlightening and thank you.

    Dick Weiss

  5. Steve on October 23rd, 2009 1:21 pm

    I had not heard of Flickr Storm before. As someone who builds websites, I appreciate the info as it is difficult and sometimes expensive to find quality photos.

  6. powerrc on November 17th, 2009 10:36 am

    This information is so valuable. I am primary school teacher and I am responsible for Design Technology and ITC! I am forever struggling to gather imagery for many if not all of the projects I deliver. So often I spend evenings and weekends out with my camera and I also arrange for sessions for the children to go out and about to make images that we can use. Albeit this is educational in itself – the professionalism I am trying to teach is compromised my poor imagery! So thank you for this – the information is worth its weight I gold and now I can spend my weekends and evenings concentrating solely on my marking!! Gr8 stuff !!

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