Creative credit: media use across the web

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Raymond Nakamura and Lisa WillemseMultimedia subject editors

Ryamond&Lisa image

Original cartoon by Raymond Nakamura.

When we started thinking about this post, Lisa noted that there’s been a lot of chatter about credit for photographers and artists in blog posts, such as the ongoing discussion about Canadian-based I Fucking Love Science and its inconsistent practice of not acknowledging sources. Not only that, but Getty recently announced that it would make its image library available for free to registered bloggers.

We know this is an issue that encompasses just about every form of web content. Entire blog posts are copied and reposted without credit. But it seems much more prevalent with images and other multimedia, which are somehow considered less important than the almighty word. The question is, how are Canadian bloggers, artists, illustrators and multimedia producers affected, and what do they think of it?

So we put out the call for recent Canadian posts and/or comments on Twitter, Google+ and in some cases, via direct email. It didn’t take long to get responses.

First in was Glendon Mellow, who’s an expert on the topic having posted quite a bit about it. He sent a flurry of resources to follow up, some from his own blogs:


The latter post offers some interesting perspectives from media creators about the use of their work online. But Glendon and his colleagues on the Symbiartic blog have clearly given this a great deal of thought, with posts about life as an artist online, the differences between images and video online and what science stories would be like without images. Other Canadians weighed in with their own thoughts:


Michael Urbanski of the Plain Language Science blog chimed in via email:

“Yes, my articles have been republished without my consent here and there – though usually with credit – and I’m mostly okay with that. For me, the issue of proprietary rights is rather complex. I find that more often than not, the discussions around this issue are founded on a very dubious notion of “private authorship”. But just who is this alleged “private person” if not an impersonal brain secretion? Surely, there is no such “private” or separate entity — we’re all in this together. So, when asked, I’m happy to share content Open Access-style.”


And still more from Eric Mills at Cartoon Physics:


Solutions? Are there any? We wanted to know about this too.


So Lisa gave IMGembed a try, just to see how it worked:


Another facet of this story, beyond lines of embedded code, is greater awareness. We got some great thoughts on this:


Obviously this conversation is just a small part of a much broader community discussion – your thoughts and experiences with multimedia and image usage online are welcome in the comments below, or via twitter to Raymond (@raymondsbrain) or Lisa (@WillemseLA).

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2 thoughts on “Creative credit: media use across the web

  1. I think awareness is definitely an issue. Most *assume* that it is okay to use an image as long as the credit is given. But in fact that is not okay unless the author state that is the case specifically on the website/source. I have seen too many examples where I found the source that states no usage specifically, yet a blogger uses the image (sometimes even without credit). I think the embed with a code method is good and that’s the legal way to do it (like embedding a tweet). Not sure if it will catch on though…fingers crossed.

    But definitely see the need for better awareness.

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