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Using Third-party Photos or Illustrations

Copyright-protected works may not be used without the consent of the copyright holder. The copyright holders can demand compensation, usually equal to the sum that a license would have cost, and possibly legal fees in addition. Copyright infringement can be costly! Anyone who uses a third-party photo is obligated to cite the author.

Copyrighted Images include the Following:

  • all photographs, photographic works, cinematographic works, application photos, or videos on youtube
  • works of fine and applied arts as well as drafts of such works (sculptures, paintings, collages, computer art)
  • Scientific or technical representations such as drawings, plans, maps, sketches, tables, and plastic representations)

The following are not permitted: a team photo taken in front of a painting or art print; reproductions of well-known advertising posters posted on the homepage of an institute; the screenshop of a map under "How to find us" on a conference website. Instead, we recommend integrating a map service such as GoogleMaps using the CMS template Einbindung externer Dienste.

Editing of Images

Works by other persons and entities cannot be edited arbitrarily or at will. If a photo is modified in such a way that the original statement of the image is also changed, this represents a violation of the copyrights of the photographer and of the personal rights of the persons depicted. As a basic principle, any desired changes to an image should be coordinated with the photographer and, where applicable, the persons depicted.

Our Recommendation

Clarify rights of use including the desired attribution, in writing if possible, before you use third-party works. If possible, clarify whether the photos used for advertising purposes or usage rights may be transferred to third parties (for example, cooperation partners, media, social media).

The photographer must be cited, even if you use your own photographs – photos you took yourself or photos from your own private collection.

How to Use Creative Commons Pictures

Even with photos and illustrations that were published under a Creative Commons license, as a rule at least the name of the photographer or author must be given in the credit line. Digital images are often provided with an invisible watermark and therefore searchable. Cases where due credit has not been given can be very costly for the university.

Creative Commons currently offers six different standard license agreements that can be used to distribute creative content. The mandatory information is usually the name of the author, the title of the work, the link to the work or the authors, as well as a reference to the license.

For Web Content Management Editors

For information about loading illustrations and photos in CMS, please refer to the CMS Online Manual.

Steps to Follow

  • When importing pictures into CMS, always enter the "Bildtitel" (description of the picture) in addition to the "Bildquelle / Image Credit" (name of the photographer). The websites of Freie Universität consistently publish the image credits. Omitting this information makes a copyright infringement visible.
  • For image sources that require one or more links (e.g., CC licenses), please enter the Bildtitel (image description). Please enter the name of the copyright holder as well as the required links in the text field "Bildquelle / Lizenz," where you may enter both text and one or more links.
  • Give folders and documents in CMS names that will make them easy to find both internally and via search engines. Short keywords should reflect the content. Separate individual terms with a hyphen or minus sign (-) and not with an underline (_).
  • For folder names (which later become part of the URL), use only lower-case letters. Do not use umlauts or ß.

For general information on the subject, please contact the Office of News and Public Affairs. For specific legal advice, please contact the Office of the General Counsel.