Recently I was looking for poop. Well, a photo of it. For a blog post.

Using Google Image search restricted to media licensed to share, I found a worthy image on Wikimedia Commons. I was about to use it, and then I read the details of the license:

This file (photograph, motion picture, graphic or audio recording) was created by BrokenSphere. It is not in the public domain and use of this file outside of the licensing terms is a copyright violation. If you would like to use this image outside of Wikimedia projects, I would appreciate it if you let me know by sending me an email (preferred) or leaving a note on my talk page as a courtesy. I would appreciate notice of where image(s) are being used so that I can link to them.

Please credit authorship as follows: © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons. Where source attribution is required, you may link to this file page.

For use within the terms of the CC-BY-SA license, no permission is required. If you would like special permission to use, license, or purchase the file for use without the BY and/or SA requirements, please contact me to negotiate licensing terms.

This is perfectly legit in details of what a license can say. But c’mon, is it really necessary to make reuse this freaking complicated? For a picture of dog shit on a trail?

This is again and again what I find just too much overhead for open licensed media. And why again and again, the emphasis on the details of the license, the rules, what is legal, what is not as being 100000% the wrong side of the spirit of sharing.

And why, to me the details and acrobatic gymnastic flips of following arcane rules is defeating the spirit.

Once again, attribution ought to be about showing gratitude, giving credit, and showing others where you got your media from. Not about trying to follow some letter of the law.

So yes, if something is licensed Public Domain / CC0 according to the legal mumbo jumbo, you do not have to give credit. but what’s wrong with giving credit? Why not let readers of your site, viewers of your presentations, watchers of your video, know where you got the images? What if I like that public domain image, or want to know the site it came from (because likely there are more), if there is no attribution, I do not know.

I use many of my own photos. Do I need to give myself permission? Of course not, but I always add self attribution, not for rules, not to promote my own crap, but just because it is my habit:

So yes, you have a right to attach detailed reuse conditions to a photo of dog shit. That does not make it a right thing to do.

Well, you do what you want, dog shit photographer.

I do things differently.

Top Featured Image of Poop credits: flickr photo by -Jérôme- shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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