on providing Creative Commons attribution

One of the things I do when working with students and faculty, is to show them how to find great free resources shared online via the Creative Commons license, and to provide proper attribution. It’s really easy. It can be as simple as “Photograph by “, and maybe a link to the photo page.

The Tekzilla podcast (and TV show?) used a photo of mine in a recent episode (Episode 93: “Netbook Buyer’s Guide”, June 18 2009). I’m fine with that – I release every photo I publish under a simple Creative Commons attribution license to make that kind of thing easy to do.

Here’s how Tekzilla handles attribution:


Oops. Nope. They didn’t put it there. There was plenty of room for their network logo badge, though.

Maybe in the credits for the show? Nope. But there was room for about 2 minutes of super-funny blooper out-takes.

They had used many photographs throughout the show, likely all from Flickr, without providing any attribution for any of them. Without even a lame “Photo from Flickr” – the way the photos were used, it appeared as though they (or someone on their crew) had taken all of them. Maybe they had taken some of them, but it was completely unclear.

That’s not cool. That’s not abiding by the terms of the Creative Commons license.

Speaking of attribution, thanks to Paul for the heads up on this. He recognized my photo while watching the podcast episode.

And here’s the original photograph on Flickr:

Cochrane Hill Sunset - 1
Photograph by D’Arcy Norman

Update: Turns out that it was a simple oversight, and will be rectified by Tekzilla providing attribution in a future episode.

13 thoughts on “on providing Creative Commons attribution”

  1. Do you know of any instances where there has been legal action on violations of CC licensing? Sometimes it appears the license is more of a request or courtesy rather than anything with substance.

  2. I’m not aware of any legal actions wrt CC:by license violation. I’m certainly not interested in doing that (in this case, anyway) – I don’t really care if they used the photo. I’m guessing they just didn’t want to get swamped with added post-production costs by adding attribution, but that comes across as douchebaggery – it would have cost them money to buy stock photos to use. Taking advantage of people posting media online under a very simple and open CC:by license is lazy at best, and slimy at worst.

  3. I would feel the same way but I get asked about the credibility of the license when I work with staff and students. It seems to be used more as “gentleman’s agreement” more than a legal contract. I’m thinking that if at some point a legal case is made, it may add more credibility to the license.

  4. Hey D’Arcy!

    I’d like to apologize on behalf of the Tekzilla team. We believe very strongly in CC, and the rights it offers content creators. This was a mistake on the part of a production intern (not to lay blame, but we have given her the requisite 50 lashings as is the typical punishment for a first-time offense here at the office).

    Someone else emailed us about this, but we wish you had come to us first! We’ll give proper credit in this weeks episode, and please accept our apology.


    1. I hope the 50 lashings weren’t very harsh. I figured it was just a simple oversight. It’s really not a big deal, but I wanted to document it because I talk a fair bit about using CC licenses, and need to be able to show what happens when attribution isn’t provided – your response is perfect. A simple oversight, to be fixed ASAP. Thanks for that!

    2. it just hit me – how about doing a segment on Creative Commons – showing how easy it is to find free resources, and how to provide attribution. It’d be a VERY valuable resource, and would help educate your audience (and interns 😉 ) – I know I’d be sending people to view the segment…

      1. That is an excellent idea! Thanks for understanding, we’re now going back through the episode to make sure we didn’t miss credit for anyone else either. Take care!


      1. It’s not that interesting. We have an intern who helps find b-roll footage for the editing process so the editors don’t always have to.


  5. I use a lot of (cc) images from flickr in my presentations and really try hard to always provide attribution with the images.

    My workflow usually involves a little cc logo in the bottom corner of the image, and the flickr username/user photo of the person that uploaded the image to flickr and licensed it. All of this links to flickr page for the image. All told, this sometimes takes 5 minutes or so.

    I’ve often wished there were ways to automate this process, or that flickr itself provided an easy way to provide attribution.

    I’m really interested in hearing tricks for making it easier for people to do the right thing when it comes to (cc).

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