Copyright of my pictures

Dear Sirs and Madames,
I’m new here and I think the idea of ​​the site is very good. Now my question: What about protecting images that I upload here? Can they be used by everyone? Is there a copyright?


Yes, sure, check this page of settings:


Many Thanks. How do I define the license for my images? Where do I have to “click”?

There are 3 drop-down boxes in the bottom of the left column. The second one is for any images you upload. Select the appropriate CC license or no license if you want to retain all rights. You can also choose to apply the new license to all your existing images with the checkbox

1 Like

Scroll to the bottom of the linked page, and you’ll see several rectangles with symbols and names on them. If you click the rectangle, it will open into a list of the different copyrights, and you can click the copyright you want. You should probably also click the boxes below those rectangles, that update existing observations with the new copyright choice.

1 Like

Also, obviously the copyright settings you choose for your media are completely your choice, but keep in mind using a more open license such as Attribution, or Attribution NonCommerial allow your observations to be much more useful for scientists and other researchers. I recommend that everybody uses one of those licenses unless you are something like a professional photographer where you are making money from selling photos.


Since I sell some of my photos (and donate money to my animal shelter’s website), I keep the full copyright box checked. So, for the photos I sell, I also watermark them and add a copyright link in the description (see for example).

I wish there was a way to select the setting for each observation, not just the entire account one way or the other. The majority of my observations are cropped too heavily to sell, so I wouldn’t mind them being Attribution NonCommercial, while I would mark my quality photos as full copyright. But I don’t think there is a way to set the copyright individually, only one option for every photo in the settings.

1 Like

You can choose a licence individually for each observation. The setting can be found at the top right corner of the observation page next to the edit button.

Edit: Sorry, this is actually the setting for the observation itself, the licence of a single photo can be changed on the page of the photo (click on the “i” symbol at the bottom of a photo to reach this page):


For what it’s worth, here’s what the Terms of Service say:

By submitting Content to iNaturalist for inclusion on the Website, You grant iNaturalist a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt, and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing, and promoting Your observations and journal via iNaturalist. We might also use the Content for other purposes not subject to known legal restrictions, such as training machine learning models.

So you do keep your copyright to your photos, but iNaturalist can use the photo to promote you or the observation, and for training our computer vision model. As others have said, you can choose to license your photos for specific use by others without your need to approve it beforehand, which is what Creative Commons licenses do.

As for “protecting” your images, all of this license stuff only legally protects them. Like any image on the internet, someone can download the image and use it elsewhere. That’s just inherent with posting images to the internet. The licenses allow you to make a legal case against that party if that happens.


If anyone would like to use any of my photos they are more than welcome to do so. I appreciate free use of the platform, apps and websites and signed up to get myself out into nature more, learn more about my natural surroundings and to contribute to science if it so happens that I capture an image of something unique. I do understand the copyright for people who profit from their images but I personally am just happy to contribute for free.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.