Can I use this photo on social media?

Check out this great blog post for social media managers on understanding copyright. 

There is one thing different at UVic: This blog mentions checking if photos can be used for commercial use. We social media managers at UVic check for non-commercial use instead. Instructors and students can use both non-commercial and educational use.

If you have any questions about copyright at UVic, please visit the Copyright Office's website or email

What is attribution?

Giving attribution means stating who the photographer is and where you found the photo.


When to give attribution?

 Required — If you upload a photo to a social media site, you should almost always give attribution. This includes:

  • All Creative Commons photos (no exceptions)
  • Most stock photos (check the license details on the source website)
  • Photos provided by students, alumni, faculty, most staff or the general public. Confirm with the photographer how they would like to be credited.

 Not required —Attributions are not required when you:

  • Share a URL and a photo automatically pops up in your post
  • Retweet or share someone else’s social media post
  • Upload a photo to social media site taken as by a UVic employee who took the photo as part of their normal job. For example, we do not give ourselves attribution when we post one of our own photos on UVic’s Instagram account.

If you aren’t sure, it’s always better err on the side of giving attribution or not using that particular photo. Feel free to reach out to us for help as well!

Special considerations for Indigenous art

If you are sharing a photo of Indigenous art, you also need to include the name of the piece and the artist.

For Indigenous art on campus, you can find more information in Indigenous art on campus (PDF). If you have any questions, please contact Barbara Hager at


How to give attribution by social media platform

Facebook and LinkedIn

These two platforms allow for long posts, so it’s easy to find space for attribution.



With very short posts, it can be difficult to find space for photo attribution, but it is still necessary to make room.



On Instagram, we primarily share photos of student taken by other students.

It is very important to ask the person who appears in the photo for permission to share a photo of them. Most students want their Instagram account to be mentioned.

For informal snapshots, the photographer is often a family member or friend. They usually do not want attribution.


However, some photographers do want attribution. Then we will mention both the people in the photo and the photographer, unless we are asked to do something else.

Note that the camera emoji on Instagram is used interchangeably to give credit to the person who is in the photo and the photographer. When you write a caption, make sure your intentions are clear.