No Free Lunches- Credit That Image, or Shoot Yourself

Wikipedia has so many beautiful and outstanding images, someone has worked hard to create them, and deserve credit
Image by Sebastian Ritter
Dear Reader, I am a passionate photographer and believe in sharing knowledge. Thus, I have most of my photos (minus family ones) under Creative Commons Attribution license and I actively contribute to Wikipedia.

As most of the people who take out time to edit and enhance the mighty Wikipedia and release their photos, even outstanding ones for free- there is a reason for it.

People like me and possibly you spend time to improve articles and give away photos- all this is quantifiable in money, but we do it, not for money.

I think it's for that feeling of satisfaction of adding our own bit to the knowledge, and maybe a certain degree of self-pride that your creation is being read and possibly republished the world over.

Whatever be the motivations, it is always a delight to bump into a site that features your image and there somewhere in the page, credits to you. That's the reason amateur and professional photographers alike, release their work for public in the first place.

My dogs featured on Wikipedia's
(at the time of writing)
In perspective of Wikipedia, this is an issue. Not because Wikipedia doesn't want to give credit where it is due, but because it is so darn cryptic. I have personally suffered because of this. One of my images on dog behavior (the adjoining one) has been used on a site with no credits. That, in my opinion is akin to stealing. I have written to the owner. Let's see how it turns out.

I looked up the net, and in general have observed that there are two reasons for which Wikipedia images go to republishing "naked":
  • The person doesn't give a damn about it. Quite possibly, they themselves have never created anything worthwhile to know the value of intellectual property.

    Also, surprisingly, stealer need not be some shady small time blogger and could be something like CNET.

  • The user genuinely wants to attribute the image, but don't know whom to.
Till Wikipedia guys don't sort that out, I suggest the following tips to state the attribution details legibly and boldly:
  • Check out the list of licenses and variations here.

  • You'll notice that some of the variations have a |Attribution in them. This is the place where to specify the details.



    with attribution as specified by the Attribution parameter.
The code

== Licensing ==

Credit to '''Gopal Aggarwal''' ''with link'' '''''' (thanks!)


will give the desired output as

You can very easily mention the attribution desired

Barring the freeloaders, I think there is no reason for us to feel that something is missing. Using this format, we could specify link to a particular site, say your Flickr page, or portfolio. or as is my case to my blog.

Cheers to Wikipedia (though Wiki guys you still need to KISS (keep it simple stupid) up the default templates)!

And a message for suckers (who suck up images):

Wikipedia has so many beautiful and outstanding images, someone has worked hard to create them, and deserve credit...think about it.
Suggested Reading:

  1. Creative Commons Licenses in a nutshell 
  2. I Wish I Could Contribute To Wikipedia (archived copy)
  3. Getting Wikipedia image licences right (archived copy)
  4. In praise for images on Wikipedia
Personal notes: My Flickr page is where I upload my best images, and also to Wikipedia and Wikimedia (my user pages)

Originally published on my personal blog here