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Computer Security: Presenting images that are not yours…


Conference season is coming up again – maybe in a different setting to what we are used to, but still with lots of interesting results to present and share. And with lots of presentations being made, lots of images will be shown to embellish the content and act as a visual aid, since inter-human communication is 20% oral and 80% visual… But beware, not every image is a good choice.

The good ones, of course, are those that you have created yourself. Your plots. Your graphs. Your sketches. Photos taken by you. But once you download a photo from the Internet, a nice image you found through a Google search or on Instagram, beware that it might be subject to copyright. It is not unknown for a researcher to receive a cease-and-desist notification from the copyright holder asking to take down the photo and pay compensation fees. And these can get quite expensive!

As with music, films and videos, images and photos displayed on a webpage can be subject to copyright. So be careful. Make sure that you have the proper rights when using visual content, be it graphics, photos or videos. Whether you are a presenter, webmaster or editor, please ensure you hold the correct rights when using visual content and music in your presentations, webpages or publications… Check whether the image is published under a Creative Commons licence (see, for example, Wikimedia) or consider paying a royalty fee to a photo repository such as BigStockPhoto.com or iStockPhoto.com. It takes an investment of just a few francs to be on the safe side. If you are really keen on using a particular photo or graphic, contact its author/owner and ask for permission (and keep written proof!). And, of course, take some time to browse the CERN Document Server (CDS) for images and footage from CERN. If you can’t find what you are looking for, why not roam around the CERN site, take the photo yourself and make it available on CDS?


Do you want to learn more about computer security incidents and issues at CERN? Follow our Monthly Report. For further information, questions or help, check our website or contact us at Computer.Security@cern.ch.