Copyright & other legal issues

Don't forget to visit the consider copyright page under the Strategy section (click here). You might also need to think about privacy and security (for people in videos, for example) – click here for more about this.

Find out whether you have permission to reproduce each image. You can always remove an image from a blog, but if it was a national poster campaign that was based on an illegal image, would you really want to risk it? Unless the images have been specifically given to your organisation with the intention of allowing you to reproduce them, make sure you ask for permission to use them, even when they belong to a friend or supporter of your organisation. When requesting permission, you could stress that your publication is not-for-profit or that authors are not paid for their contributions. Mention your print-run and readership, especially if your content is for educational purposes. Under these circumstances, some copyright holders may reduce or waive their fee. Otherwise,it may make more sense to rely on copyright-free images.

Take care while photographing objects that might be covered by copyright. By taking and/or using a photo of a work that is under copyright, you could be violating the copyright. This is true of paintings, some sculptures, craft items, architectural works, jewellery, clothing, toys and works of art.

Sharing images & copyright

If you aren't able to create your own images you could consider using free 'sharable' images that are available on the internet. Campaigners generating content online often convert their work into a ‘sharable’ document that can be easily circulated via e-mail or downloaded from the internet. If the licence invites sharing and the document is compelling it will be circulated almost as if it has a life of its own. Such texts, sounds and images can be freely used, distributed and modified by the general public, without the restrictions imposed by traditional copyright. This can be done either by adopting an Open Content licence (click here for more information), or by following commonly-accepted practices.

Copyright-free images

A great many images (primarily photographs but also illustrations, simple animations, cartoons, video and art) of many subjects are available with open content licences on sites like Flickr. To find images, use the advanced Flickr search, then select 'Creative Commons Copyright' at the bottom. If you need permission to reproduce an image, contact the photographer by visiting their profile (via their photo at the top left of the page) and sending them a message.

Other photo-sharing or royalty-free image websites