One proper way to request and use an image from an online sharing site, thanks ARKive!


Puntius Denisonii - Red Line BarbIt seems many of my tweets and some recent posts are about rights grabs – well, this post is about one way I feel that requesting and using image from an online photo sharing sites, in this case, flickr, should be done.

Many times, even from my little flickr stream, I find my images being used, and most of the time, they are not used and credited correctly.  Yes, I am aware that photo credits don’t pay the bills, but I think you have to consider where the request is coming from, and how it will be used, before you just refuse it because the requester doesn’t want to pay.

A short while back, I was contacted, on flickr by ARKive.  Even though it had the appearance of a form letter, the content of it was to the point, and explained what they were asking for, and how and where it would be used, further offering to send still more information if I should want it.

Dear Joseph,
I hope you do not mind me contacting you but in searching the internet for images of Puntius denisonii (red line barb) I found a fantastic image of yours on your Flickr page ( which I would be interested in using for ARKive, if you would like to become involved.

ARKive – – is a unique conservation initiative.

Films, photographs and audio recordings of the world’s animals, plants and fungi are being gathered into one centralised digital library. To date we have created digital multi-media profiles for more than 8,000 species, digitising and storing over 50,000 still images and over 6,000 movies. These important audio-visual records are being preserved and maintained for the benefit of future generations and are being made available via the ARKive website.

I am able to send some more detailed documentation that will tell you a lot more about the ARKive project should you provide an email address. However, in summary:

· It is ARKive’s current primary aim to compile audio-visual records for the 17,000-plus species currently threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

· We are looking for media (moving footage, still images, audio) to depict each species’ life history as comprehensively as possible. In order for us to achieve this aim we need help from as wide a variety of donors as possible and would like to be able to add you to our list of contributors.

· The ARKive website acts as a showcase for image providers, displaying copyright and contact details with every image and links to each media donor’s own web activities.

See examples of species which have been ARKived at Please let me know if you have any queries. I am contactable at the below email address.

So, I went and did some reading on their site, and decided I would contribute my image to the site.  When I responded to the email, I was further impressed that they then responded asking how I wanted to be credited.  I guess I shouldn’t be impressed by this, but in light of the way all the rights grabbing and misuse and incorrectly or no credited photos are used on the web, I was.

Please could you also let me know how you would like to be credited (e.g. © Joseph Hoetzl) and what contact details you would like displayed next to your images? We can add a postal address, email address, telephone and fax number and web address.

I was then informed that they received my photo and information, and would be in touch with a link to the page where the image would be display, and how the credit would appear. This relates a bit to the section on “followup” in my post about bug tracking.  Following up, whether it be about a bug, a request, or just a final thank you is a critical step in any dialog.

The final result of this dialog can be viewed at on ARKive’s site at

And naturally, I exchanged a few emails with ARKive before publishing this, and provided a draft of it for their approval.