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Gabriel Castaldini, Carnavalesco, graphic elements by Atelier Disko, CC BY-SA 3.0

Political and legal work
The right attribution in just a few clicks

The attribution requirements are legally regulated, but they’re often not very easy to understand for those interested in reuse. That’s because the attribution requirements are mostly found in the small print. Missing information can have consequences! Even accidental non-compliance with attribution requirements can lead to a copyright infringement. Some copyright owners have exploited this situation in the past. If worse comes to worst, you might even have to pay a penalty for unintentional license infringements.

How then should openly licensed images be correctly labeled, without inadvertently violating the license conditions?

In our political work, we try to increase awareness of the fact that it is easy to reuse open-license works. It would be unfortunate, of course, to miss out on the benefits of open knowledge because of any uncertainty about open licenses. To provide the right information, it is not necessary to understand the license text down to the last detail. This is where the attribution generator from Wikimedia Deutschland has been a big help since being introduced in March 2016. In just a few clicks, it generates the correct attribution for all images that are provided on Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons under an open license. To do this, just three questions need to be answered: Do I want to use the image digitally or in print materials? Have I altered the image? Will it be used alone or together with multiple images? The web tool then provides the respective attribution, which can be conveniently copied and used.

The English translation followed in July 2016. Further translations such as French and Indonesian are in the works. The successful project has not only already led to the generation of 16,000 attributions, but also to greater public interest in open knowledge, open licenses, and the simple reuse of licensed images.

At the moment, the attribution generator can only provide license information on images from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. We would like to integrate other platforms, but this is technically challenging due to their varying designs. The website www.attributiongenerator.org also needs to become more familiar.

At Wikimedia Deutschland, the convenient dissemination of open knowledge is part of our political mission. The attribution generator shows how easy it is to use open content and hopefully even inspires people to create their own open content.