It’s almost Easter, so it must be time to talk about Daleks again…

If you’ve read the saga of the Dalek egg, you know that I made an easter egg that looks like a Dalek (from the TV show Doctor Who) as a gift for a friend a few years back, and posted my photos online with a Creative Commons Attribution license. It keeps making the rounds.

An easter egg decorated to look like a DalekLast night, I got a message from a friend on Facebook –

Message - Thinkgeek shared your Dalek egg an hour ago on Facebook and it already has 3,400 likes!As always, I’m more curious than anything else about how, why, and whether users provide credit. ThinkGeek had gotten close – providing both my Flickr username and a link back to the original image, but there was no mention of the Creative Commons license. Which is, in my mind, a really key element of using CC images, and the thing users most often leave out.

I think people omit mentioning the CC license, because the general ideas around credit are that the creator’s -name- is the most important thing. And online, linkbacks, I guess.

But the thing with Creative Commons is, other people don’t know CC exists unless they see it mentioned. To me, the most important part of crediting my images is acknowledging the CC license!

It’s true lots of people don’t know about that part of CC licenses, but the friend who sent me the initial link does, and she’s not a copyright geek. (She’s all kinds of other wonderful kinds of geek, but not a copyright geek.)

Me - Did they actually do the CC license credit - Her - They linked to your Flickr and used your username but did not mention the license. So close?Mostly, I ignore people misusing the Dalek egg images online. But I love ThinkGeek, so I sent them a message.

Hey there, that’s my dalek egg you’re using to drive traffic on your page. While you and the rest of the world are -more- than welcome to make use of the image under the terms of its Creative Commons license, you are not actually meeting the terms of my Creative Commons license.

You’ve managed to credit me by username, which is awesome and -is- required by the license, so well done there. You’ve also linked to my Flickr page, which is also awesome and more than most commercial users have managed.

You have neglected to include the title of the image (which I don’t really care about, but is required by the terms of the license). More importantly, you’ve -neglected to mention that you’re using it under a Creative Commons license- which is required by the license, and about which I care really a lot, because how are people going to learn about the awesomeness of Creative Commons if people omit the “what license I’m using it under” part of the use requirements?

I’m only really hassling you about this because I think ThinkGeek is pretty cool, and I think you can do better than this. Lots of online idiots have used it without any credits or anything, and I don’t bother with them. Prove me right that you’re good peoples?

AND THEY FIXED IT! (Their first attempt wasn’t quite right, but then they got it absolutely perfect.)

screenshot of the Dalek egg photo on the ThinkGeek Facebook page with full credit and an acknowledgement of the CC Attribution license
Also, 7,660 likes? The internet is really weird about Daleks.

Additional observation from a friend – BoingBoing didn’t follow Creative Commons Attribution practices any better when they first blogged it in 2010, but as a news org, they have a little better claim to have been making a fair use copy (and thus not needing to follow the terms of the CC license, because they aren’t making use of the license.)  On a -very- quick overview of about four recent photos, they seem to not have very consistent captioning/credit practices.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *