Copyright Images

Image courtesy of Fotopedia The White House

In order to locate this image of the White House that has a Creative Commons License, I used Advanced Google Image search. This license states that I am able to share the image, i.e. copy, distribute, or transmit it, assuming that I attribute the image to the licensor and do not take credit for the work myself (I do not). This particular photo was originally posted on Flickr by “LollyKnit,” however I located the image on Fotopedia.

Fotopedia is a photo-encyclopedia (as the title implies). What Fotopedia does is link out to dozens of different image-hosting sites (Flickr being chief among them), and because it supports Creative Commons licenses, these images are reusable and share-able through the site. Fotopedia also features an awesome travel app, which combines interactive Google maps with beautiful photos (if you’re interested).

I found it interesting to learn via The Creative Commons video that works are immediately copyrighted upon creation, so, for example, this blog post will be copyrighted as soon as I post it. The default, then, is complete ownership and re-useable and share-able works are the exception. Our students do not know this. I did not know this until just moments ago. This means that our students could easily fall into a legal situation of which they were completely unaware. Just like a driver’s ed teacher must help students understand traffic laws, we must teach our students how to properly and legally use the internet in order to prevent them getting into bad legal situations. They will likely moan and groan about the inconvenience of it, but sometimes we have to stop at a long red light even when we’re already running late.

And you know what, it is a pain and an inconvenience to find these public domain images and to reference every source, but also it is important to see the other side. Creative Commons gives the example of a random man taking the liberty to record a bass line to White Stripes songs– songs that had been written and produced by the White Stripes without this man present. Although Jack White gave him spoken approval later on, I think what this man did was both audacious and wrong. Writer and philosopher Ayn Rand often emphasizes the importance of those who can and do create– she calls them Prime Movers. These creative minds, these Prime Movers, Rand argues, are what moves society forward; they are the very foundation of capitalism (Rand, 1943). Certainly a kitten picture on Google images is no Mona Lisa, but my point  is that there are people who are passionate and serious about their work, and the internet makes every person anonymous. The picture that one nabs off the internet without thinking may very well be another person’s finest work. By protecting the rights of creators, we ensure that our society still values pure thought over mindless recitations, and that’s a good thing.


Creative Commons. Creative Commons- Get Creative. Video retrieved from

Rand, Ayn. (1943). The Fountainhead. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company.

The White House. [photo of the White House in Washington, D.C.]. Retrieved from

One Response to “Copyright Images”

  1. Cassandra Trumbetic says:

    I agree with your comment that you were surprised when you discovered that everything we upload to the Internet is copyrighted. I for one would like to become much more savvy about making things free to share and use when I upload information. You summed up the video about the White Stripes song very well. The interesting part of that video is that there are two members of the White Stripes so wouldn’t the man who recreated the song in particular have needed both member’s permission? Just an interesting thought that popped into my head. Great post. I thought you explained your choice of image very well.