Attribution or bust

One of my biggest peeves in the entire world: when bloggers accompany their posts with images and do not credit the photographer or artist.

If you find a picture you like but you can't find the photographer's name, don't repost it.

If you find a picture you like and you do know who took it, and it's not licensed under Creative Commons, ask their permission before you repost it. Then include the photographer's name and a link to their page, or credit them in another way if they prefer.

I once read a blog post in which the blogger expressed her frustration that her posts were being spread around Tumblr in their entirety. She wrote, "It's one thing to make tiny source links for photos that accompany a piece, but entire articles is something different."

That sentence stuck in my brain and itched for quite a while. I don't see how there is a difference.

To the photographer who took that photo, it may well be the equivalent of your "entire article". They put some combination of their thought, creativity, unique perspective, and skill into producing it. And I doubt they took it thinking, "I hope some stranger picks this up and presses it into service as an illustration on their blog without asking me!"

So I went back into the archives of my blog and took out images that I used without proper attribution. These days when I use photos other than my own, it's from a flickr user whom I've messaged for permission.

Just because you run across a pretty picture, doesn't mean that it's yours to use as you please.

Just because it's incredibly easy to share images on the internet, doesn't mean non-attribution is okay.

Be courteous. Choose to use images whose source you know (and I mean the creator, not a weheartit page); then, unless the image is licensed under Creative Commons, go to the tiny bit of extra trouble to get the artist's or photographer's blessing, and credit them when you do repost it.

And if you use Tumblr or similar, I think it would be great if you decided not to reblog uncredited images. If you just favorite, then at least you won't be responsible for it spreading further without attribution.

6 comments:

Leia 8/05/2010 4:02 AM  

I hope I'm not guilty of this! I always try to attribute my pictures and use ones that are from the creative commons!

Leia

Holly 8/07/2010 12:03 AM  

Leia - Good for you!

sui 8/07/2010 11:57 AM  

I COMPLETELY AGREE!!!!
That's always been my biggest pet peeve about Tumblr... but people are getting better about it I guess.

A good way to look for the original source is http://tineye.com
If I see a photo I really like & want to reblog on Tumblr, I look for the original artist and credit him/her.. or I don't repost. :)

Makes me wonder if people actually post my work uncredited. Huh.

Holly 8/07/2010 3:47 PM  

sui - No way! I have been sighing over the lack of such an engine for SO LONG. But it exists! That's brilliant!

Shannon 8/13/2010 5:54 AM  

Holly - I hereby give you permission to use any of my photo for blog posts if you wish to do so :)

Holly 8/15/2010 4:04 AM  

Shannon - Yoou're lovely. Now of course I'm thinking of excuses to do so. (Clever hustling you, very nice, very nice!)

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