akirchner - taking the initiative!
akirchner - taking the initiative!

Copyright and correct attribution are matters most of us would rather not think about.  It is, after all, so easy to be ignorant of the rules and conveniently snag photos, charts, graphs, and all other forms of information from other places online and use them to our hearts’ content.  But alas, this would be wrong- and illegal.

In an epic quest for righteous hubbing, the venerable akirchner actually made the effort to look in to the copyright issue, and created a brilliant hub to guide us through the process of legally using images, videos, charts, and graphs on HubPages.

Though I recommend you read the entire hub, which includes not only her own advice but a good number of helpful links and videos, here is a sneak peek of akirchner’s findings on Creative Commons material:

The Creative Commons issue is a huge one and I will not delve into that in more depth so as to keep this readable and easily understood. However, suffice it to say that ANY image that we use that is not our own should be either a part of the PUBLIC DOMAIN or should be licensed for COMMERCIAL USE under a Creative Commons license. If it is not, we are in violation of copyright law. Pure and simple, there are imprints on these images if they are obtained over the internet, and someday, somehow we might be filed against for a copyright infringement for using these images. The creator can efficiently track where and how many times the images are displayed on the internet.

Are there CC licenses on websites enabling us to use images? You bet! If you use the Creative Commons link here, you can search for all sorts of images that are legal to use – whether they are digital images, videos, charts and graphs. Then if you attribute them properly, you will know that you have legally used them.

akirchner also points out many other important copyright issues to consider including…

  • Fair use
  • Use of others’ video content in your hubs
  • The use of charts and graphs
  • The correct way to give photo attribution until HubPages develops a better method (which it will)

Though akirchner was incredibly thorough in her work, there were still some issues on which she was unsure- I’ll share them with you (as you’ll also probably wonder about these things), and include some answers too!

.     .     .

akirchner: Best practice – flickr image with text capsule beneath pic with a hard link back to Creative Common licensed image – whether it is a chart, graph or digital picture – or how to do this legally?

Simone: For the time being, the best way to offer correct image attribution on HubPages is to include the name of the image’s creator and a URL to its location online.  In the future, we’ll be rolling out with a better way to give photo credits.

Website image usage – only use images from a website that has a Creative Commons license clearly visible – then attribute by text capsule beneath with a hard link back to the website where the image originated?

Yes.  Unless an image has been found via a creative commons search or is specifically listed as a creative commons image, you probably shouldn’t be using it.

Video usage – are all youtube videos acceptable as embedded links to use in the video capsule or do we need to do a Creative Commons search on any and all videos before incorporating them into our hub?

Not all YouTube (or Vimeo, Revver, etc…) videos will be playable outside the main site.  If you can successfully embed a video into your hub and play it, you are free to use it- no creative commons search necessary.

Attribution of videos? If we use an embedded video from youtube or elsewhere, do we need to attribute it as well with a text capsule stating who uploaded the video to the source or regarding licensing?

Videos do not require attribution as they act as direct links to their source, and are not capable of being embedded into and playing on your hub unless their owners are willing to share them.  In other words, if your video plays and embeds properly, you have the right to include it in your hub.  That said, some people upload content (such as movie and television shows) to which they themselves do not have the rights.  For a short time, you may be able to embed and share that video through your hub, however this illegal video will eventually be taken down, leaving you with a video that won’t play.  For this reason, be cautious when embedding videos into your hubs- if you think the person who posted it has stolen the content, avoid using it.  The best way to go is to create your own original content and use that in your hubs!

If we want to use graphs and charts – if we cannot find a Creative Common licensed graph or chart that we need, may we create one and list the source as an attribution but then using graph or chart software to create and image, then post that new image to our hub?

Yes.  Think of it this way: all images of graphs, charts, and tables should be cited the same way that a photograph would be cited.  If, however, the content is written and you are simply cutting and pasting it into a table on your hub, all you need to do is share your source.  Text must be quoted, but is free for you to use if it has been published online- so long as you cite it correctly.  Images are far more complicated- not all of them are there for you to use as you like.  If you see a chart or graph you adore, but cannot use the image, I’d recommend using and citing the data (which is fair game) and creating your own original image.

Fair use – how does it apply to images, videos, charts and graphs on Hubpages if importing from another website more specifically?

That depends on the nature of your hub and what your goals are in writing it, as well as the site from which you are pulling this information or imagery.  I would refer back to the criteria you listed in your hub when making decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Now that we have all of this knowledge, should we go back and redo any images, graphs, videos, charts, etc. that might be considered a violation of copyright law?

Absolutely.  Just because we didn’t know the rules before doesn’t mean that we’re exempt from them.  Law-breaking is law-breaking, so I’d go back and check those hubs!

.     .     .

What akirchner has done with her personal research and hubbing is similar to what Ohma has done with HubTrails– by starting something independently, she has inspired us at HubPages HQ to take more action.  In the near future, then, you can expect us to publish a series of official Learning Center guides and video tutorials on working with copyrighted material and giving correct attribution.

What’s the moral of this post?  If you want something on HubPages (or heck… the world) to change, start something yourself! The rest shall follow.

Thanks akirchner!!

Posted by:HubPages Admin

6 replies on “Akirchner Explores Copyright Quandaries on HubPages

  1. Good information and thank you…I’m going to check my hubs and make sure I didn’t miss anything…I hope everyone does.

    I have a question for akirchner: What does it mean when someone uses the “Title and a few sentences from one of your stories of which you are the author of, and they (tag) it, create a link with it , and when anyone goes to msn.com’s search bar in Bing search, then types in the “Title” to your story, the person or persons, who used your work without your permission, without your consent, then profits by using your property because NOT YOUR WORK is coming up, BUT THEIR hubpages stories come up in that search while they used your property and the “Title” to one of your stories without your permission/consent! So, what does one do about that? Thank you.

  2. Reading, both for enjoyment and research is something we all on a daily basis. Often, a person decides to write an article, story, letter, etc., without really even planning it out. We simply write from our memories and experiences. But when we are sharing these written documents with the public at large, we have to be cognizant of the composition. It’s not that difficult to mistakenly jot down sentences or phrases from memory that are verbatim from someone else’s work.
    I often use a free online tool that checks for plagiarism:
    The site will produce a very thorough analysis that includes total characters, words, unique sentences, and % of matches to documents existing on the internet via Google or Bing. There are similar sites on the net, but I prefer this one because of the detailed nature of the reports and the web site contains no advertising.

  3. Though it is clear in akirchner’s text that CC images MUST be used, it also incorrectly alludes that use of another site’s images in hubpages MAY come under “Fair Use”. This is not a grey area, no matter how much you may want it to be. Hubpages are for commercial gain and do not come under the criteria of teaching, research, review, journalism,or professional advice. It is clear that many hubpages have total disregard for image copyright law, and this will cause a huge problem for hubpages and it’s contributors if it is not addressed immediately.

  4. Astonished – you’re right; incorrect use of photos and images on HubPages is a problem, as it is everywhere online. We are in the process of working on several projects that will…

    1. Make people more informed on the subject
    2. Make it easier to use one’s own images on HubPages
    3. Make it easier to correctly attribute photos on HubPages

    If you have any particular ways in which you think we can encourage correct use of images on HubPages, don’t hesitate to let me know!

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