Project:Image Addendum to IMI Style Guide

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Images Addendum to the Independent Media Institute Style Guide[edit | edit source]

Skip the Photo: You Don’t Have to Find Images to Accompany Your Own Articles[edit | edit source]

Generally, our partner publishers will find images, so you never have to include any with your articles.

If you have taken a high-quality photo or created your own graph, and the image or photo does not violate copyright nor does it include any material that is copyrighted that is inside it (i.e., you took a screenshot of a copyrighted graph—but the rights of the graph don’t belong to you), and it would greatly benefit the article’s chances of being read and your work’s benefit to readers, and you can provide all the proper credit line, images, rights, caption, and any other information that should accompany the image, then you may include it for consideration.

No Rights, No Image Use—If You Don’t Do the Research, It Won’t Be Considered[edit | edit source]

We will not publish an image that we don’t have the rights to (or send out an image that our partner publishers don’t have the rights to reprint) on our website, in newsletters, or in submissions to partner publishers.

If you are unsure about an image’s rights, do the research so you can be sure we have permission to use it and that we have the credit, caption, link, and any other information that has to accompany it or terms about reusing or adapting or changing the image—if you aren’t sure or don’t have time, then don’t send us the image and don’t use the image.

If you send us an article or document to accompany an article, make sure you have written permission from the copyright holder to use it and to let us or a partner publisher reprint it (this is called “nonexclusive rights”).

If it is your photo, and you are sending it so others can share it, then tell us in writing when you email it to us as an attachment that you own the copyright and that we have the rights to use it.

When you have obtained permission or confirmed with written documentation from the copyright holder that we have the rights to use the image nonexclusively, then please email the image file to your editor:

  • Image quality and file type: Email the full-size as an attachment to the email (or link to a place it has been transferred from like Google Drive or Dropbox) rather than embedded as an email or a lower-resolution or screenshot version. PNG or SVG is best, then JPEG/JPG.
  • Make sure to include any credit language that must appear with it. Include any links to the photographer/organization/copyright holder’s website that they ask to include (or that would be nice to include). Follow the license guidelines for attribution from their email, or from the license stipulation if a Creative Commons or other license is used.
  • Also include the caption or description, especially if there is a person in the photo or the photo content might need an alt-text description to help the visually impaired or to help partner publishers quickly identify what is going on in the photo so they can figure out where to insert it in their rendering of the article.
  • Example of a caption and credit you’d send to your editor with the image:

Creative Commons License Example:

Caption: Jane Doe at the Specific Event on August 12, 2022.

Credit: Photo by Photographer Name Linked to the Image on Flickr via Wikimedia (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

^Notes: This example only applies because the hypothetical image license indicated by the copyright holder is a Creative Commons license that is explicitly “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)”—check the license information on your specific photo, which might have a different CC license than the 4.0 model.

If you’re not sure about the license, find another image or skip an image altogether.

It also might be hosted on Flickr or somewhere else rather than Wikimedia, in which case note the original source (not someone who shared it again).

Example of Credit/Caption to Transmit to an Editor for an Image You Own or That the Copyright Holder Expressly Granted in Writing to You:

Credit and Caption: John Smith at the Progressive Conference, June 11, 2022. Photo by Greta Paparazza (gretapaparazza.com).

^Follow the copyright holder’s exact language for attribution in the permission (if they don’t indicate this, put their name in as a courtesy).

  • If no credit or caption is necessary, please indicate that. If someone else is the copyright holder (and this isn’t just the subject of the image or the photographer in all cases), get their express permission to share and republish the image, and tell us you have it (and include their required credit/caption).
  • Do not send any images you don’t have the rights to. This includes charts, graphs, etc.

Credits and Captions[edit | edit source]

We must give proper credit to every image we use.

That includes:

  • credit information:
    • name or username of rights holder or “courtesy of”
    • how it was obtained [i.e., Wikimedia]
    • what the reuse license is, and a link to the license [i.e., CC-BY 4.0])
    • Anything else that the license requires you to include (i.e., “modified from original” if you crop or make it black-and-white and the credit requires it)
  • The caption (who is in the photo, what year the photo was taken, relevant context—but don’t make it too long if you don’t have to.)
  • source URL (where you found the image, and where others can find it if they like; a canonical link is ideal)

We prefer images in a separate Google Drive folder with a document in there with a list of the captions and credits that lines up with the file names.

If you have to do inline story images, which we don’t recommend, simply put the following text in italics directly underneath each inline image:

Image: [name, copyright holder]/[source]

Graph courtesy of the Institute of Graphs. Used with permission.

Photograph by Photographer Name.

Where to Find Images[edit | edit source]

Generally, our best advice is: Don’t even go looking for photos or images. Focus on the article text.

We don’t want you to waste time looking for images. If you took photos or own photos/images that are relevant, you can include them with captions/credits. If you find an image you want to include, make sure you have permission to use it (permission should be written, from someone confirmed as the copyright owner), or that it is confirmed as being either in the public domain or has a creative commons license that allows the non-exclusive rights to reprint, reuse, and adapt and that you note what credit and caption and links need to be included with the image.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Public Domain[edit | edit source]

As Stanford University’s website explains:

“There are four common ways that works arrive in the public domain:

  • the copyright has expired
  • the copyright owner failed to follow copyright renewal rules
  • the copyright owner deliberately places it in the public domain, known as ‘dedication,’ or
  • copyright law does not protect this type of work.”

Fair Use and Public Domain Tools for Research from the American Library Association (ALA) and U.S. Copyright Office[edit | edit source]

These are recommended![edit | edit source]

The American Library Association (ALA) offers tools to evaluate if images or text might be covered under the special fair use or public domain categories—check out the fair use evaluator and public domain spinner—that may help aid in your research if you think your work may be covered under one of these two categories. Review the rules from the U.S. Copyright Office and ALA too. Always use caution and read the fine print on these tools/resources.

Creative Commons Licenses[edit | edit source]

Look for license information provided where the image was originally posted. If you see the CC icon or “Creative Commons” license information, read it—some licenses might have CC but still have other requirements, such as you can’t adapt or reuse it in certain purposes (we use it for editorial rather than retail/merchandising but please make sure you read the license carefully and follow its rules—ask if you are unsure). And include the caption and credit they request, with a link to where you found it (usually Wikimedia or Flickr), and name or username of the copyright holder. If they say it can’t be modified, include that information in your caption/credit.

For more information, see this Wikipedia article on Creative Commons licenses.

Beware Stock Photo Websites[edit | edit source]

While there are some legit stock photo websites (such as Shutterstock and iStock, Getty, AP, AFP, etc.), they require whoever uses them to have paid for a license—so just because you or someone you saw online used a stock photo, it doesn’t mean whoever will receive your article via our syndication network will also have a subscription there. And the use you or someone else paid for only applies to them, often for a limited period of time.

Free stock photo websites like Pexel, Pixabay, and Unsplash and more don’t always have the rights to the images. If there isn’t confirmation that the image rights holder grants the rights, ideally via public domain or creative commons, then don’t use the image.

About This Guide[edit | edit source]

This reference guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Reprinting with attribution to the authors for ​​noncommercial use is allowed under the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license guidelines (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) excluding third-party content.

For inquiries regarding content reuse, reprint rights, and licensing, visit the Observatory’s Reuse and Reprint Rights Guidance page.

Last Updated: October 12, 2023[edit | edit source]

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