Abiding by the letter of open licenses mean you do not have to ask permission. But it sure is nice when someone goes beyond the letter of the license and lets you know of a use of your work.

It’s an old story around here, and it’s so old I cannot find the source, but when I used to get messages via flickr from people asking my permission to reuse my photos. I’d reply as Mr Smartypants Share My Wisdom With the World with an explanation that the Creative Commons license meant they did not have to ask me permission.

One person wrote back:

Yes I know that. I just thought you might want to know where your photo was being used.

Boom. Popped my pompous bubble.

Sure someday there might be some steel cold blockchain powered automated notification system to keep all the reuses in a big ledger in the cloud. Even with that, I’ll take the humanity of a personal message.

Earlier today I got a flickr mail message from another person letting me know a reuse of this photo:

The photo is in a blog about, of all things… benches. Who would have thought there was a blog about benches? That reminds me of another time when one of my photos was added to a group that collects images of graffiti carved into plants… vegaffiti!

The benchsite author is described on the site as:

I live in the Casa Perfecta in the town of Fribble-under-Par, which is on the lovely Paradise Island. I am lucky enough to have two husbands – one imaginary and one real. I have two beautiful cats and a dog named Sit. I also have lots of delightful friends. Despite all this, I spend far too much time on the internet looking at benches.

Oh one day, I just may find myself in Fribble-under-Par…

My photo is featured (well it’s one of maybe 40 photos) in the Benchsites post Carnival Benches for Mardi Gras and Lent

Attribution on my photo

(as an aside, I remember that photo from a student event at the campus of Wagner College on Staten Island, where I did a talk in 2013) (do you see how associative memory works?)

It seems like I just wrote about the variety of ways to do attribution, none more right than another. Here you can see the Source part of TASL is taken care of.

But way down at the bottom, and there’s a lot of fun and beautiful bench / carnival photos to scroll past, is a fully detailed credits section:

Personalized form of attribution

The author did lift some text from my flickr profile, but, still as digital content, it’s… hand crafted.

So yes, maybe it’s not A+ TASL, but you can see the author took a lot of time to provide a human flavored attribution, not milled out of a machine, but written by one person sending a little gratitude to another.

And I will be happy with that any day. If you ever need photos of benches or just want to stare at a lot of them, head over to http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/.

Featured image: Bench on a Bench flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com 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.


  1. I definitely had to figure out that Paradise Island is actually the Isle of Wight–totally charming blog.

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