Saturday, 18 January 2014
Almost all of the images I've posted to my Flickr account are licensed under the Creative Commons license that lets the image be used by anyone for any purpose (including commercially), as long as the use doesn't imply that I've endorsed a product or anything. Beyond that I don't get to determine how the image is used.
The deal is that anyone using my photo needs to credit me and link back to the page on Flickr from which the image comes (ie Flickr gets a credit too, fine by me). If the image will be used in a printed publication then (a) I probably won't know about it (but people sometimes email which is nice) and (b) I'd probably be less bothered about the link back, but 'Flickr user Jodiepedia' would be a bonus. If someone makes a particular request about not crediting for some reason then it's within my 'power' to grant that (eg where it just wouldn't look right etc). People can remix my images but they have to apply the same license that I've given them (or seek extra permission from me).
My images and photos aren't great quality (I'm mostly using an old iPhone camera whose lens is scratched and my pics are getting blurrier) and I'm not a very good photographer. The reason I make them available under a CC license though is not just because they're a bit rubbish but because I've benefited hugely from the internet so this is a teeny tiny contribution back to it, I suppose.
Finding images used but uncredited
Today I found that a website has used one of my images without proper accreditation. This annoys me as it's just lazy - there's even a template code provided by Flickr that can be inserted that does all the work for you, so really no excuse. The website admin didn't need to contact me for permission or check anything, just copy and paste so... grrr.
With the newer DMCA take-down notices it's a lot easier to be very aggressive in getting images removed from a website. In fact the webhosting company typically takes down the entire site until the image is removed - it's a little bit too aggressive for me to be honest, although I imagine it gets the job done very effectively.
Initial action taken
I've gone for the amiable "I say, would you mind awfully..." approach in the first instance - I'm sure it's an error rather than someone deliberately trying to avoid crediting me / Flickr (I mean why would they, it's not like anyone can reasonably pretend the photo is theirs since it's datestamped on my Flickr page).
Feel free to pinch the text below (and no, you don't have to credit me!) if you think it might be useful in a similar situation, and good luck with getting your pics credited or removed (or paid for if you have a payment arrangement in place).
After the draft email is some background information about the image involved, and why I am keen for it to be attributed correctly.
What happened next?
Nothing for a week. I then looked up the website's registration details (DNS lookup) and found another email address. By writing to that address I was clearly 'escalating' matters, I asked them if they'd be able to help me resolve the matter as I'd not heard back after my initial request. Delightfully they were, and the image is now properly attributed and we're all best pals.
Thanks to a reverse image search I've noticed that you have used one of my images on your website, here: [URL of website]. I'm delighted that you've done so.
As my images are licensed under Creative Commons that is perfectly fine, however the terms of the license mean that you do need to credit me and Flickr (where the photo is hosted) and you also need to link back to the original image site. You do not need to pay me or Flickr to use the photo though, it's free.
My photo (original here: URL of image) appears on your website without credit.
Please credit this photo correctly (see below) or remove it.
How to credit the image
The simplest thing to do is to add a piece of text like "Photo credit: Flickr user YourName" and hyperlink to the web address given above. Alternatively, you can use the embed code found on every CC-licensed photo and add that into the text of your post (using the html edit view) and the picture will automatically appear, with the correct attribution and link back. Please let me know when you have done this.
Background to the image
The image in question (above) is one that I drew myself in PowerPoint and uploaded to amuse myself. It's meant to look a bit like berries, specifically Acai berries, that are often sold in pill form to people who are trying to lose weight. They don't work (of course) and who knows what weight loss pills bought from the internet might contain, but I noticed that pill sellers often used free images. This suggested an opportunity to have a little fun.
I've created a few images that state on them things like 'diet pills do not work' and uploaded them under a CC license in the hope of finding them in use on websites (and appropriately credited of course). On many of them I also included comments about why these products don't work, in the hope that anyone seeing them might be dissuaded from wasting money on them. I'd certainly not pretend that this was a particularly successful strategy (and I've really no way of knowing if anyone decided not to buy because of the image) - but it amused me, and to me that's pretty much the most important thing ever ;)
More on sneakery in the service of skepticism.