As a statistician and mathematical modeling practitioner, I’m not a stranger to the concept of quantifying the value of intangibles. In the ethical framework in which I studied and worked, such quantification might be applied to a concept such as negative dollar value of ill-will (per person) generated by denied boarding due to passenger aircraft over booking. Yet I found myself rather unnerved today by TweetUp’s article today, How much is a follower worth?. According to TweetUp analytics, the answer is $136.80, as of June 2010.
See something? Cite something.
… [we] had plenty of experience with our work making its way across the internet, both with and without attribution to our hard work, and so we thought we would make a comic/chart about how to do it right. Consider this reference material…
If you see something you want to use on-line, have a look at Not Quite Wrong’s Attribution Flowchart, or a similar guide. Please click on image to view full-size.
That may be easier said than done. Creative Commons (“CC”) licensing simplifies matters significantly. Yet CC licenses, are optional, and while frequently specified, certainly not universal.
Prior to the age of digital publishing, this was not such a widespread concern. Print media channels had in-house counsel and other persons trained in the rules of fair use and content re-purposing.
Attribution is preferable to Retribution
I felt like I bore the Mark of Cain after an incident due to one of my very first blog posts.
I used two photos of snails for a brief post on the beauty of spirals in nature. I noticed the snails on the Flickr photo site. My account on Flickr was nearly as new as my WordPress blog site. I did read Flickr’s Terms of Service for photo reuse. This was possibly the first TOS for a website I’d ever read, other than the TOS for Second Life!
A few days later, I found myself the subject of scrutiny, communicated quite eloquently by the abrupt increase in page views indicated by WordPress’s statistics plug-in!
In those days, I wasn’t aware of the more comprehensive tracking available via Google Analytics. Thankfully.
The snail photos belonged to a skilled amateur photographer. She was a mature woman fluent only in languages with which I wasn’t familiar.
My initial blog post did not give appropriate attribution to her.
I amended it, but did not do so correctly under the terms of the CC license. No good.
I tried again. The photographer was not quite satisfied. Which she expressed as best she could.
I felt so guilty, misusing this woman’s work! Finally, I got it right after a third revision.
Fortunately this was prior to the additional complications of Getty Image licensing, which is a default or opt-out for the entire Flickr site.
Image sharing is particularly confusing
Here are other questions, about general practices. I was unsure if a watermark on a photo meant that:
- I was not allowed to re-use it under any circumstances, or
- The watermark alone was sufficient attribution and no other details should be given.
Although I now know that the second condition is inadequate, I’m still uneasy and uncertain about re-use of watermarked images.
The two leading image sharing sites, Flickr (owned by Yahoo!) and Picasa (a Google product) offer an All Rights Reserved designation, as well as all varieties of CC licenses. Yet I sometimes observe All Rights Reserved images reproduced.
I’ve read the Flickr help pages and remain confused regarding fair use. Does All Rights Reserved override the basic Terms of Service of the Flickr site, which states that all publicly viewable images on Flickr can be reproduced as long as the image links back to the site with appropriate attribution? And what of the new Getty Image licensing?
Fail-safe way to cite right
When in doubt, send a quick email or IM to the artist or photographer. Most reply very quickly. I’ve asked artists for permission to reproduce their work despite the All Rights Reserved or copyright sign. Most have given permission immediately, or within a few hours of visiting my sites and confirming that they were non-commercial.
My single experience with a private foundation’s photos was only slightly more involved. A curator wanted to preview the content and placement of the image prior to posting– a reasonable request. In every case, I was allowed to post images free-of-charge.
Yes, attribution and/ or obtaining permission is the right thing to do. It’s also personally worthwhile, for the sake of your peace of mind!
I used curate.us, a “clip and save” service, to “snip” this page about RSS feeds from http://blog.blogupp.com. BlogUpp is a well-regarded blogger support and promotion site.Clipped from:blog.blogupp.comShare this clip
Is this content curating or content theft?
Curate.us is a convenient social bookmarking service. It is one of the continually growing assortment offered by the Add This and Share This universe, whose drop-down menus now offer more than 300 choices! There are actually even more. Access depends, amongst other things on geographic location and/ or top-level domain. (Fear not: Baidu, China’s largest search engine cum social network, seems to be available globally.)
Do clip-and-save services such as http://curate.us enable copyright infringement?
Most sites prohibit any sort of framing of their content, particularly trademarks. Ironically, Microsoft has the most liberal policy regarding use of screen shots, followed by Google, that I have seen. Microsoft is very strict regarding usage of Bill Gates’ image, and beta products, of course. I suspect that Bill’s photo image has seen a lot of “derivative uses,” also known as “defacement,”over the years.
Nearly every other site associated with for-profit, not-for-profit and non-profit enterprises will not permit screen captures of content for re-posting on a website. Not unless approved on a case-by-case basis. There are a few exceptions, such as some, but not all, open source projects. Note that screen captures are different than re-publishing rights. Services such as RightsLink and PARS handle digital content “re-purposing” licenses. Some items may be obtained gratis, and others for an outrageous fee.
Curate.us is undeniably useful, particularly for instructional blog posts. It is not the only one its kind. There are at least two other “clip and save” services. Tech Crunch and The Next Web wrote recent reviews of both.
I’ll use Curate.us sparingly for now. Try not to get too attached.
I am very curious whether “clip and save” services result in any DMCA take-downs or other copyright/trademark infringement complaints over the next few months. I hope not. However, I would feel differently if these services were carving away large chunks of my income and livelihood.
Earlier this weekend, Christopher Blizzard wrote about how there’s not one easy answer as to what HTML5 actually is. While I don’t agree with placing all of the blame on Google, I certainly agree that there needs to be a simple answer as to what, “support HTML5!” means. Not just for browser vendors, but for website owners as well.
This needs to accompany the giant “WTF is HTML” chart and commentary I posted last week. However, this is written by an expert, a very knowledgable person, David Recordon.