Flickr is a great place to find photos to use. Many photographers assign their photos with a Creative Commons license, so any can use the photos. (there are different requirements with this license. Some require attribution. Some don’t allow profit use.)
Whenever I see an article using a Flickr image, I almost always click over to see the rest of the photographer’s work. In particular, I like to see if anyone noted to the photographer that their image is being used.
Here’s a great example. Here is an article about a media company launch. Ken Doctor writes some of the best articles analyzing the media industry. And now he’s launching his own media company! Very exciting news.
The featured image for his article is a tourist binocular pay thingy. The name of his company is Lookout, so that image kinda makes sense.
At the very bottom of the article is the attribution for the image.
Clicking through to the photo, there is no mention of this image appearing on this important announcement. Perhaps the author privately contact the photographer about using his image. Since Ken Doctor is so incredible with his media experience (i’m being serious), I’m fairly certain someone from his team would have contacted the photographer to give him a heads up.
[Update to article] To be clear, I’m completely fine with an author using an Creative Commons licensed photo, and giving attribution in the article. Just as Ken Doctor did here. This is completely fine. The article has the photo. The article has the attribution. All is good. I just like the common courtesy of letting the photographer know the photo is being used.
In this case, the photographer might be unaware, so I left a comment.
There’s gotta be a ton of photos where the photographer isn’t aware where their photo is being used.
I bet that can be scripted to find those instances.
An automated Google search that finds pages that meets three requirements:
1) Text says “photo by”
2) Text also says “creative commons license”
3) Link points to an image page on flickr.com
Then the script would visit that Flickr image page.
Using the Flickr API, the script would check two things:
1) It would check the image to see if there are zero comments
2) It would also check the description to see if URL of the article is not mentioned
If both of these criteria are met, then the script would add the image to a list. The resulting list would be all the images that don’t mention anything about the image being used somewhere.
Note: the script would not automatically leave a comment because there are definitely spammy sites that use other people’s Flickr photos. You don’t want to be dropping spam links on people’s photos.
Maybe somewhere in this script, it would filter out the articles that are spammy.
Anyhow, as a photographer, I know I love knowing when my images are being used. A tool like this would be helpful for photographers.
And since I’m technically using this photo, here’s the credit to the photographer:
» Photo by Jonathan Silverberg used under a Creative Commons license.
Now do I leave another comment on Jonathan’s Flickr photo page to let me know I used his image in a blog post about the article using his image? So meta!
2 thoughts on “Idea: a script to find Flickr photos being used online”
When I first saw this image, the style totally looks like something from unsplash.com. The coloring of the photo. The soft aperture. Just kinda looks like an unsplash photo.
Some professional photographers tend to hate unsplash, because it essentially encourages photographers to give away their photos. I was curious if Ken Doctor was using the controversial unsplash for his image. But instead he got it from Flickr, which is a bit better.
(side note some professional photographers like unsplash, because it gives them exposure)
I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I maintain that if the source of the article and the target both supported the Webmention spec, then when a piece used an image (or really any other type of media, including text) with a link, then the original source (any website, or Flickr in this case) would get a notification and could show—if they chose—the use of that media so that others in the future could see how popular (or not) these types of media are.
Has anyone in the IndieWeb community got examples of this type of attribution showing on media on their own websites? Perhaps Jeremy Keith or Kevin Marks who are photographers and long time Flickr users?
Incidentally I’ve also mentioned using this notification method in the past as a means of decentralizing the journal publishing industry as part of a peer-review, citation, and preprint server set up. It also could be used as part of a citation workflow in the sense of Maria Popova and Tina Roth Eisenberg’s Curator’s Code set up, which could also benefit greatly now with Webmention support.