Note: I posted this first on intended as a demo for this blog post. But it took a day to get around to this, so it might look like I am writing my stuff there. Not. This blog always comes first. Sort of.

I often feel lonely fighting for attribution for photos openly shared for reuse under Creative Commons licenses. Beyond advocating to a level of boring people, I have built a simple browser bookmarklet tool that makes the process of getting an attribution statement for web sites a simple cut and paste operation.

It’s more or less something I made for myself, because the round trip from flickr to my blog editor was about a 6 step round trip of cut and paste, and often I was not consistent.

Last week, I got a question about flickr cc attribution helper:

I did not have anything per se, and what I told Noah is that I usually download the image from flickr, upload it to medium, and use the HTML attribution string from my tool to copy paste as a caption. Most of the images in my own stories I have added attribution this way, see an example.

As an aside, this demonstrates my rule to Always Be Attributing. You see, those are my photos, and if my decision to attribute was based upon rules and fear of breaking laws, I do not need to provide attribution for my own photos. I don’t need to ask myself permission. When we think this way, we are not thinking of how what we publish is perceived by ,maybe the 3 people that read my stuff?—?if they see stuff w/o attribution, they might see it as affirmation of the norm “anything on the web is okay to take and use w/o giving credit.”

But even that way of doing attribution is maybe 4 steps. Can I cut that out?

I did some tests, and have added a new bookmarklet tool that works for Medium (maybe other platforms with rich text editors, it probably would work in the wordpress visual editor).

Let’s say I am searching for open licensed flickr images about sharing (if you do not know how to do that, go directly to flickr search, do not pass Go, but do select an option under that top left menu that reads Any License), and I happen to come across a great one that says “Life is Sharing” (admission, again it’s one of mine. Am I just shilling my own pix?).

I click a tool I installed into by browser bookmarks bar, up pops a window:

In it I will see a mini version of the photo and the attribution text below. With my mouse, I select the image and the text, and do a command C (or copy).

Using the Flickr CC attribution tool for getting an image and an attribution I can copy (and later paste) in the Medium editor

The image will be embedded, but the attribution text will be in the editor line below, so it’s one more cut and paste to move that into the caption of the image:

This is how the attributed image looks on after using my new tool (screenshot)

But that is pretty easy? No?

Is there really a reason why writers on medium just do not bother to give credit for images? Because it is so hard to do?


Anyhow, this might help Noah out, and it was fun for me to tinker. It might be a bit hit and miss if you want larger images, because not all flickr photos have a large enough version to do the full page width Medium version.

“So How do I Get This Awesome Thing?”

  1. Thank for for asking! Go to the flickr cc attribution helper
  2. Select the size of the image you prefer to be pulling from flickr (note, I do see it might be better to be able to select the size from the attribution pop up, maybe I will redesign it soon). 640px is a safe size, 800px too. The larger images may not always have versions available.
  3. Select the menu option for Attributor.
  4. Click, hold, and drag the turquoise flickr cc attribution helper button to your web browser’s bookmarks / favorites bar.

Using to create a attribution tool.

Now find a Creative Commons licensed image in flickr (you can also browse them from—?now click your new bookmark tool. You should get a pop up window that has the image and attribution you can copy in one, sweet move.

That is one:

flickr photo by jujuchiches shared under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

It’s better than:

It may make you

Now only someone can get people with larger readership like Dave Pell to attribute images they use, readers might actually emulate.

It’s not about following laws or rules, it’s about a simple human expression of appreciation. And it takes now, two copy pastes to do it for open licensed flickr images.

Note: My next blog post will certainly start here…

Update: Jan 9 2017

I thought that the links in the caption did not work, but it’s because of the way medium does not make them active while editing… so I modified the output for the caption to have links to the image, creator, and license. The cool thing is if you made the bookmarklet tool, you do not need to do anything to get the new functionality (well you might have to conttol/right click to force a SHIFT Refresh/Reload).

It is as fun as a mystery bone dug up from the ground.

Top / Featured Image: “IMG_8549” flickr photo by tantek shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license modified by me with this very attribution on he medium sized cup.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff 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. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as

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