Can I post photos taken by others?

I have several photos of birds from my mothers recent trip to Las Vegas. She does not have an account but i would still like for the pictures and information to be out there. I have an exact date, time, and location for each photo, i just did not take them.


Welcome to the forum! Technically this is discouraged, but I think some people still do it.

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thanks for the reply! I agree i dont really want my map to say i visited nevada when i didnt, but i also want the pictures to go somewhere. I might try and get her to create an account.


I would strongly discourage against this unless you were in Nevada. I sometimes will upload a photo my mom took of an insect or spider in my house that I saw but will never upload her photos she sends from Florida when I am not there. If you want to upload those observations I suggest making another account for your mom.
If you do upload them to Inat make sure your time of Nevada photos does not conflict with photos you took at similar times, as that could look like a “send in your photos from wherever you are” account. It’s your choice, so if you care about actually observing that species for yourself than I would not upload it on your account.


iNat is more about connecting people to nature than making all possible data publicly available. I’ve actually convinced five of my family members to make their own accounts because they keep sending me photos haha.


As others have said, having separate accounts might be a better idea. Though, when it comes down to it, I know in some situations it can be a bit tricky, i.e. family member not having technological knowledge to operate a smartphone, etc or i.e. supervising young children who may not have their own devices but are using yours.

If your mother doesn’t want to go to the hassle to make herself an iNaturalist account, you might consider making one for her (using her e-mail address and with her permission) and teaching her how to upload photos. Or even manage the account for her. She may get into it once she starts.

Occasionally posting somebody else’s photo on your account, with the photographer’s permission, and giving the photographer credit is OK. Doing it a lot is not.


In my opinion, for the case above I think it is ok. The issue may be on the copyright of the pictures. Since there is consent to use the photos, so they both hold the copyright of the picture. It will be ok.
There are cases of people taking a convenient picture downloaded from the internet. That may be copyright infringement if the picture is not on public domain or any of the CC license, This is seldom enforced due to the complexity of the legal process.


She has an account, but does not use it. Ill have to ask her to put them on there- i dont want to mess up my account or post info that is not mine.

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As long as you have their permission, that’s the most important thing. I personally only submit photos that were taken when I was there, but that’s just what I like to do, haha.

If she has an account but is not using it, perhaps she will give you the data you need to get into her account and manage it for her – upload photos for her.

On iNat that IS Copyright infringement. Not an acceptable obs.


There are cases of people taking a convenient picture downloaded from the internet.

As @dianastuder mentioned, if you know of any of those observations that is Copyright infringement and in fact not an allowed observation. If you come across any please report them for Copyright infringement.

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If you do it rarely and have the photographer’s permission, nobody’s going to be bother objecting. This bending of the rules is usually occurs when one’s relative or good friend photos something you want to see posted. As to post-processing, that would be between you and the photographer. Of course you wouldn’t post something that had been seriously altered from reality.


If done rarely, yes. But iNat is first and foremost a community and a place for people to document and discuss their perosnal interactions with nature, from which data are generated. It’s not a data repository for data generated elsewhere. I’d encourage the person to make a free iNat account and post their photo to it.


is you, documenting your, interaction with nature. Your photos of what you saw (with a very few exceptions)

Yes, this does make data available that would otherwise not be shared – but I think it’s also important to keep in mind that this is data you can’t personally vouch for.

You have to trust your friend or neighbor that what they tell you about the place and time and circumstances of the find is correct, that they have not misremembered the day or location. Of course this uncertainty is reduced somewhat if the photo was taken with a smartphone with GPS enabled, but there is still room for errors to happen and it is more difficult to catch these errors if you did not personally interact with the organism in question. It also means that you may not be able to answer questions that IDers might have.

I would be hesitant to upload photos of organisms I didn’t see myself simply for this reason: because I am responsible for the observation and the data connected with it and I can’t guarantee its accuracy if I wasn’t there.