Image: Sharing music. Roman style by Ed Yourdon, generously made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY NC-SA 2.0) licence. Source: Flickr.


This post is the fifth in a series called Sharing FM.

So far this series of posts has focused on questions of creativity – specifically regarding the sharing of each other’s content. The focus has fallen on how Creative Commons (CC) licences provide a solution to some of the obstacles raised by copyright.

In other words, we looked at what questions – what is copyright? What is CC? – and why questions: why does CC matter?

Now let’s look at the how questions: how can you utilise CC to enhance or develop your blog?


How to locate CC-licensed material

I hope that, by this stage in the series, you like, as I do, the idea of using in your blog content from elsewhere that has been made available via a CC licence.

The question is, where online do such works reside? And how can we find them?

A simple discovery method is, of course, to do a Google search. Say you want a CC licensed image of a football stadium, you can simply search for something like football + stadium + Creative Commons.

A word of warning, though: I’ve found in practice that this type of search can produce questionable results. Certainly one can’t assume that all the images identified will actually be CC-licensed.

For that reason my preference is to use search functions and databases that are more CC-orientated.

The majority of my successful searches stem from two approaches. Either I use CC’s own search function, CC search:  — or I use flickr (

For the latter I enter my search terms and then, on the page that reveals, use the function labelled ‘Any license’ to refine my search.

Even though this should ensure that the works I locate are indeed CC-licensed, I always inspect the meta-data that accompanies the image I want to use – just to be sure.


How to label CC-licensed work that sharing

Let’s say, then, you’ve located a work that you want to use – a photo of a physiotherapist, for example. You’ve copied it and uploaded it to your blog. What do you need to do next?

Ideally, you want to provide all of the following pieces of information:

  • The title of the work
  • The attribution: which creator should you attribute the work to?
  • The source: where did the work come from; where can others find it?
  • The licence: which CC licence has been applied to the work?

I say ‘ideally’, because occasionally it isn’t possible to discover all of the information.

If you look at the licence I’ve provided at the foot of this post, you’ll see I’ve spelt out this information. This is because I’ve found it can prove irksome, trying to gather the necessary details: if you want your work to be shared, and shared professionally, it’s worth making it easy for the licensee.

Often you’ll see next to the licence information a button. Each CC licence has its own button.[1] Displaying the button is desirable but not strictly essential.

You’ll see that I’ve used one to accompany the licensing data at the foot of this post, but not to accompany the data for the header image: the reason for that omission is that I fear the button looks too obtrusive there and might even put off readers who are unfamiliar with CC.


How to choose a licence for your content

Let’s say you’ve generated an image yourself. You’d like to apply a licence to it in order to make it easier for other creators to share. It’s evident from the above, and also from a previous post – The silver lining from FM content – that there are several licences.

This might not be what you want to hear, because it raises the question of which licence to apply. How to decide between them?

The good news is that we can be pragmatic here. One could do a lot of homework, thoroughly investigating each and every licence, but in my view that isn’t necessary. My (non-legalistic) advice is simply, use CC’s ‘Choose a licence’ tool:

The tool takes you through a very small number of questions, each phrased in plain English, and Hey presto! – it tells you which tool best fits your purposes.



Published under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence.

Title:   Supporting creativity in FM content

Attribution:   Du Malone

Source:        Black Sea FM (


[1] These are available for download from CC’s website:

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