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How to attribute Creative Commons licensed materials

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All Creative Commons licences require that users of the work attribute the creator. This is also a requirement under Australian copyright law. This means you always have to acknowledge the creator of the CC work you are using, as well as provide any relevant copyright information.

For many users of CC material, attribution is one of the hardest parts of the process. This information guide is designed to help you ensure you are attributing the creator of a CC licensed work in the best possible way.

What to include when attributing a work

The same basic principles apply to providing attribution across all CC licences. When attributing a work under a CC licence you should:

  • Credit the creator;
  • Provide the title of the work;
  • Provide the URL where the work is hosted;
  • Indicate the  type of licence it is available under and provide a link to
         the licence (so others can find out the licence terms);  and
  • Keep intact any copyright notice associated with the work.

This may sound like a lot of information, but there is flexibility in the way you present it. With a bit of clever formatting and linking, it is easy to include everything, particularly in the digital environment.

Of course, you do not have to include any information you cannot locate. However, you should make a good effort to find the relevant information for the material you are planning on using. Think about what you would want if it was your material that others were using.


FlickrStorm (http://www.zoo-m.com/flickr-storm) is an online search tool that helps you find high-quality, CC-licensed Flickr material and automatically generates an appropriate attribution. Searching for ‘lemon’ using FlickrStorm brings up the image below.

Here is the complete CC attribution for the image. 

Eid Mubarak by Hamed Saber available at
under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

However, FlickrStorm provides a much shorter attribution in the bottom right hand corner of the photo (pictured left). Although the FlickrStorm attribution is very short it provides access to all the information requested by the CC licence (and more) by using clever linking:

In the offline environment, where you can’t link, the attribution becomes more lengthy. But it still doesn’t have to be intrusive.

Here is a good offline attribution for this photo that’s shorter than the one above. It indicates the name, title, source and licence (using the licence button). By including a link to the photo’s Flickr page, it also gives access to all the other information and links.

Eid Mubarak by Hamed Saber  


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