Attribution is one of the underpinning philosophies of the Creative Commons movement.  When someone makes their work available under a Creative Commons license they are not forfeiting their copyright, rather they are making their work available to be used by others under certain conditions. One of those conditions is attribution.

Attribution is similar to the concept of referencing, in that it is about giving credit to the author or creator of a work. There are some basic principles which can be applied to all kinds of Creative Commons licenses. When attributing a work which has been made available to you under a Creative Commons license you should:

  • credit the creator of the work
  • provide the title of the work
  • provide the URL where the work is hosted
  • indicate the type of license the work has been made available under
  • provide a link to the license
  • abide by any copyright notices associated with the work

(adapted from How to attribute Creative Commons licensed materials: for Teachers and Students. (n.d.). [PDF] Creative Commons Australia. Available at: [Accessed 14 Jun. 2016].)

The attribution you provide will depend on the medium you are using. If you are using someone else's image on a webpage, much of the required attribution information can be 'hidden' behind links. If you are using that same image in a printed book however, you would need to include all of that same information, including the full text of all URLs (web addresses) in the text of your attribution.

It is good practice to keep track of all of the Creative Commons content you have used for your own projects. A table, like the one provided below, may be a useful starting point.

We have included some examples to demonstrate what your own table could look like.

Author Title Source (e.g. website) License
Nick Morleson View from Australian Catholic University Spring St Office Flickr (short URL: Attribution-NonCommerical 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Dushan Hanuksa Kangaroo Flickr (short URL: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Some content hosts, such as Flickr and YouTube, will allow you to embed their content directly into your webpage or LEO unit. Put simply, this means that rather than downloading your content onto your computer, and then reuploading it into LEO, the content only exists in one place. When you embed content directly from the original host, all of the metadata remains in tact, meaning that often the attribution will be done for you!

Most content hosts (YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons) will allow you to embed their content. As an example of how this works, we will show you how to embed an image you have sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

Wii media four optionsTo embed content directly from Wikimedia Commons you need to:

  1. Locate your image from within Wikimedia Commons. Click on the blue 'More details' button.
  2. To the right of the image there will be four buttons. These represent the options which are available to you. These are 'Download' (to save the image to your computer); 'Use this file on the web'; 'Use this file on a wiki', 'Email a link to this file' and 'Information about reusing'. Click on 'Use this file on the web'.
  3. You will be presented with four ways of using this image on the web: a page URL (a direct link to the page); a file URL (a direct link to the file itself); an Attribution Link; and the HTML or BB Code. For most websites you will need HTML code.
  4. Generate the attribution code, by selecting the 'HTML' check box next to  attribution code. Copy and paste this HTML code into your webpage or LEO unit.
  5. Select the size of your embedded image from the dropdown above the HTML code. Then copy and paste the HTML code into the same space that you put your attribution HTML code.

This is an example of how an embedded image from Wikimedia Commons will be displayed. Anyone who clicks on your image will be taken straight to the source, which in this case is the Wikimedia Commons website. All of the appropriate attributions are embedded in the attribution link at the bottom of the image.

Klarfeld first australian saint St Mary Mackillop

By Anil Alfa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Page last updated on 23/01/2020

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