In the past, we’ve shared information about sources of photography where small businesses (and anyone) can find photos they can use legally for blogging and other purposes if they adhere to copyright laws and the web-era effort to update usage rights for sharing intellectual property, Creative Commons.

One of our favorite sources of such photography is Flickr, that started letting users designate various types of Creative Commons options for sharing photos a decade ago.

Now, even more good news: They have added two more ways photographers and others (museums, state archives, etc.) can designate photography they share to be free of any restrictions—photos that are in the public domain. Previously, even the most generous licensing option through Creative Commons required some form of attribution to the license holder. Why would someone not want attribution? There are times when the license holder does not want to be credited for reasons ranging from privacy to government regulations. And there other times when the person who shares the work is not really the license holder, for example when a more accurate designation would be “public domain” for various reasons.

Because of that, Flickr has added two more options its users have to grant permission for photography usage with “no rights reserved”: the Public Domain designation and the Creative Common’s CCo license. (The default option on Flickr accounts remains “All Rights Reserved.” You must indicate any other preference for your default setting in the settings panel.)

“Many members of our community want to be able to upload images that are no longer protected by copyright and correctly tag them as being in the Public Domain, or they want to release their copyright entirely under CC0,” said Rajiv Vaidyanathan, a product manager at Flickr.

logo of creative commons public domain

The Creative Commons CCo license

CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright—or database-protected content—to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.

In contrast to CC’s licenses that allow copyright holders to choose from a range of permissions while retaining their copyright, CC0 empowers yet another choice altogether—the choice to opt out of copyright and database protection, and the exclusive rights automatically granted to creators—the “no rights reserved” alternative to our licenses.

creative commons public domain designation

(Read more about the CCo license on the Creative Commons website.)

(Photo CCo: The photo is found on Flickr and was placed in the public domain by SpaceX Photos. It was shot just before sunset at 6:03pm ET on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. It is the Falcon 9 lift off from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. and is carrying the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite on SpaceX’s first deep space mission.)

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