85% of Content Sites Respect Copyright – Very Small Case Study


Facepalm by Brandon Grasley via Flickr

I recently had cause to reuse the image above, and while searching for the original came across a small surprise – the image has been used quite a few times on various blogs, news sites, and more.

Most of these articles are of the “someone did something dumb and we’re calling them on it” variety. I counted 26 uses in total (thank you Google Image Search), and 22 of those had nicely attributed the image to me, thereby honouring the Creative Commons licence I applied to the image when I posted it.

Four sites did not.

85% of the sites did the right thing, but 15% made a boo-boo. I have contacted the offending sites or the article authors where possible. Not because I’m trying to monetize my exceptionally valuable intellectual property here (I’m not), but because some people are, and they deserve to have their rights respected. A little awareness-building, you know?

Three fixed it on the same day.

Actually, one has promised to and apparently hasn’t gotten around to it yet. I’m hopeful. (Update: the author attributed the photo to me later that day)

Another one replied to my email (the CEO replied, in fact), had to contact their marketing department, who contacted their writing contractor, who fixed it by properly attributing the photo and linking the way I asked them to. Beauty.

A third simply removed the article from their site. Not what I asked for, but it was a cross-post anyway, so no harm done, I suppose.

That makes me feel pretty good about where we are.

Admittedly, these are mostly companies, bloggers, or professional journalists who have made use of the image online. There are possibly lots of folks who have used it in local PowerPoint presentations (having a bad quarter, maybe?) without proper attribution; I’ll certainly never see those.

I often find a more willy-nilly approach to IP and attribution among coworkers, but I was surprised to see how well things are going on the web in general.

So, there’s your good news story for today. No need to facepalm over this one. Thanks, Internet.


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