Computer Security: Getting a better image from the Organization

Do you make regular presentations about CERN or CERN's activities to the public? Do you manage public webpages hosted by CERN? Do you edit or contribute to CERN publications? Besides plenty of text, every good presentation, webpage or publication is usually spruced up with visual content: graphics, photos or even videos. But have you ever thought about whether you actually have the proper rights to use such imagery?


Just recently, a stock photo agency contacted CERN regarding an image published on a web page currently under CERN's responsibility. According to them, this image had been used without the proper rights and thus violated their copyright. As the web page is from 2007 and as is part of an EU funded project which has since ended, it is hard to check the facts. The image has since been removed to comply with the photo agency's conditions. We should take all the possible steps to avoid receiving similar letters, and to uphold the good image of the Organization!

Whether you are a presenter, webmaster or editor, please ensure you hold the proper rights when using photos, graphics, videos and music in your presentations, webpages or publications… Check whether the imagery is published under a Creative Commons license (see, for example, Wikimedia or this article) or consider paying a royalty fee to a photo repository such as or It is just an investment of 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 your time to browse the CERN Document Server (CDS) for footage from CERN. If you don’t find what you are looking for, why not roam around the site, shoot the photo yourself and make it available on CDS?

Also remember that the violation of image copyright is only one aspect. Please respect the copyrights arising from software applications and programs (“Software licenses: Stay honest!”) as well as when downloading or sharing videos and music (“Music, videos and the risk for CERN”).

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by Computer Security Team