A photo of a photo of an animal, consider wild?

If someone takes a picture of his camera, and you see the photo he have taken on the camera or computer screen.
Is it considered as valid observation?

Because its the same to me if you take a photo of your living room picture of wild bird you saw years ago and hang on your wall

I dont consider it and mark it not wild".
but it occurs often and i want to have others opinion on the subject


Thank you, Ben
apologies for language mistakes

See this thread: Phone photo - Back of camera observations

The specific examples you shared should indeed be marked wild as they appear to be marked with the time and location where the organism was seen. I countered the “not wild” vote.

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ok so i accept the camera gallery view photos
But the computer screen i still not understand how,
Camera is more personal, probably the user himself took the photos or someone close to him.
But a photo from a computer screen, who knows who the owner of the original photo is?
i can right now take a with my phone a photo from google on my screen and upload to iNat,
who can tell the different?

*in case the user does not not says otherwise

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I tend to skip all observations like that.

If you have significant reasons to doubt the accuracy of the location, you can vote no on the location accuracy in the DQA. If you know for sure that it’s a picture of a book/picture by someone else (I see a lot of screenshots from social networks)/documentary, I think the proper DQA option is “evidence or organism”? In any case I wouldn’t use the wild/captive check for that.

Overall, barring blatant abuse, I find that dealing with these cases would require knowledge or guesswork about people’s intentions, so I tend to let it be.

I think the proper way to handle these is to flag them as copyright infringement. That removes the picture and replaces it with a copyright notice, and if that was the only picture on the observation it becomes casual because it is now missing media.


If it’s a photo of screen/screenshot and you have clear reason to think it is not that person’s pic, it’s reasonable to flag as copyright infringement, since, misattributed photos also get flagged for this.

Some evidence I have seen that these types of photos aren’t attributed correctly include that they’re posts on FB or instagram, other people’s usernames are visible, the photo is clearly from a test or other assessment, etc. I’m sure there are more!

It’s also generally best to leave a polite comment explaining the issue to the user. Many newer users will not know that uploading screenshots/pics of screens can be an issue and can then improve in the future. If it is a repeated pattern, like someone uploading a series of screenshots for a project or something to try to get credit/meet a required number of observations, I generally comment on the first few, and then flag the rest.

However, especially when it’s an isolated issue, we’re supposed to assume that other users mean well, and if it isn’t clearly a violation, it’s best to ask in a comment before flagging. I have seen some users who appear to be less tech savvy consistently uploading pics of their own screens and photos that they took. This isn’t ideal, but also not copyright violation.


I’d consider the area that people are uploading these photos from. Looking at the examples you gave my assumption would be that they took a picture of the screens with their phones to get accurate locations and for whatever reason were in a spot where it was difficult to upload their DSLR photos immediately.

Especially the photo of the back of the camera. Its just difficult to pull photos off of DSLR cameras in the field and especially with birds, it can be hard to get a phone shot of the organism.


More discussion on this can be found here: Spotting copyright violations

Also, I want to emphasize @cthawley’s point that you should have a clear reason:


Some people don’t know that iNat exists as a website, or that they can upload photos via their browser, so they take a photo of the screen with the app. I agree that unless it’s clearly copyright infringement, best to not flag as such. If the location looks clearly wrong, then use the Data Quality Assessment to mark it as such.

I generally leave a comment, saying “This is a photo of a screen. Did you take the original photo?” And sometimes it’s good to let them know how best to upload a photo from their computer, you can link to https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/getting+started and/or https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/video+tutorials#add_web


Have also come across obs where the screenshot is temporary. Back home, or in the office, the original is uploaded with better internet access.

Thank you for the answers and opinions.
I have already learned some new approaches for these kind of situations.
Thank you (:

This is a more problematic case. In overall, users should be aware that this is not an ideal way of adding a photo of an organism. After all, if one has a photo in his PC, why can’t him upload the observation via web?

PS: there are also some photos that seem too good to be not downloaded from the web but, at the same time, are not indexed by search engines.


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