I really don't enjoy playing Internet Police. After this happened and this needed to be said, I don't want to write another story about image misappropriation. About another brazen misuse of some science illustration. Le sigh.
Oh wait, first rule of writing something impactful: start positive. Ok. Ahem.
Once more unto the breach! In a dazzling case of daylight misattribution in front of the eyes of thousands, a crying shame!
A young scientific illustrator - career thwarted! A microraptor - stolen from its owner! Biff! Bam! Pow! Time for an art-intervention in scintillating Symbiartic style!
All is well; a Microraptor is illustrated feeding on prey at the popular Wired.com. Note the artist's name, Emily Willoughby appearing prominently below the lovely illustration depicting the Microraptor feeding on a fish. The post above tells the tale, and Willoughby has imagined it with a richness that words cannot do justice.
Now, a shadow falls on the scene:
What's this? The same image appearing on Discovery.com in a story by Jennifer Viegas? The same image, but now with illustrator Emily Willoughby's signature cropped out? (Take a good look: should be in the bottom left, as it is on the Wired story. Thank you Wired for being such decent folk.)
Before everyone gets all poh-lite and indignant and starts wondering why I'm blogging about this public thing that happened in public instead of sending a lovely note to Discovery and the blog author, Willoughby and a number of her friends and fans have already tried that, according to her Facebook page. Comments made on Discovery are not appearing.
Perhaps Viegas is not at fault: perhaps it's an image editor at Discovery. Will someone step out of the shadows and set the record straight? AND CREDIT THIS GORGEOUS ILLUSTRATION AWREADY.
Let's recap. Here's a short image use tutorial I wrote for ScienceOnline in 2011. (See? I'm even giving credit to myself because my last name is Mellow and not "Mellehrer".)
- Go beyond Google Images or Wikipedia to the original photographer, illustrator or artist.
- Check for a Creative Commons Licence*.
- Ask. Just ask if permission is unclear. We have email now and it's amazing how fast that stuff is.
- Credit the photographer, illustrator or artist by name.
- Link back to their site.
- Saying "Credit: Google Images" or "Source: "Wikimedia" is like saying "Credit: Some human on Earth". So don't do that.
- If you crop the artist or photographer's name out, we can still find you.
This part is important. If you'd like to support Emily Willoughby and her scientific illustration career, visit the following links and be astounded.
Also, she's currently seeking a publisher for a book with these illustrations. C'mon publishers. It'll be like printing money. But legal and with dinosaurs.