|Zee and TheNextWeb's writers, editors and contributors,|
I apologize for the public nature of this post, but at times it seems a public call to action is the only way to ensure some degree of accountability and a timely response. I am writing to call to your attention the unprofessional (and at times illegal) manner in which image attribution is handled at The Next Web by, it seems, a manner of policy.
Last night I noticed in one of your articles posted to Hacker News that the creative commons image used was credited only as "SOURCES: IMAGE CREDIT", when the photographer clearly states that attribution by name is required for use of the image. I should also point out that this "SOURCES: IMAGE CREDIT" appears only at the very bottom of the post, far from the image itself, possibly causing confusion about what image is being credited without clicking the link. In this case the author of the article saw my comment on Hacker News and corrected the attribution, however it called my attention to a disturbing trend. I noticed that nearly all creative commons licensed images were credited only with "SOURCES: IMAGE CREDIT" and not with the photographer's name. In some cases this may be technically legally allowable since not all copyright holders know to clearly express how they wish to be credited under the CC license, but it does not follow industry best practices, and if not befitting of a high profile and widely read publication such as The Next Web. It is clear from what I have seen that it is The Next Web's policy to deliberately leave out a photographer's name from image attribution unless they are caught doing so.
The photographer whose work was used weighed in on the HN thread and noticed that his photographs have been used by The Next Web without attribution in another 9 articles dating back to early 2011 (original thread here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4074535). He has requested that proper attribution be given, and I hope you correct TNW's mistake, but my point in writing this is that he shouldn't have to. TNW should have policies in place that ensure proper attribution to sources is given.
So, what I would ask of you, and my purpose in writing this letter, is that you give us, the greater Hacker News community, your word that you will work with your staff to write and implement a policy for proper attribution of images, and that you will provide some outreach and education to your staff on how to properly credit images. In the meantime myself, and hopefully others, will do our best to hold TNW accountable to the high standards that any respectable news organization should be held, by notifying your writers as well as copyright holders when TNW fails to meet those standards.
Thanks for listening, and I'm sure you'll do the right thing.
TL;DR - TNW has not been properly crediting image sources unless asked to do so, I've kindly asked Zee to look into this and update their internal policies appropriately.