Having two or more licenses per observation (the observation itself and one for each separate media item), can be really confusing. The display and editing of these licenses should be improved. There have been several cases where the user was requested to update their photo license to allow noncommercial use (for Wikipedia), and they have updated the observation license rather than the photo license. And other cases where people end up with the wrong license, even though they indicated they set the right one, so whether that’s a bug or user error, I’m not sure, but something needs to be fixed either behind the scenes or with the UI to make changing these clearer. It also has the bigger repercussions of other folks unintentionally violating copyright because they mistook someone’s observation license for the photo license.
- https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/17606168 (mistook observation license for photo license)
- https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2798256 (mistook observation license for photo license)
- https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/14611997 (indicated they changed the photo license but it did not “take”)
- https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3483721 (indicated they changed the photo license (twice!) but it did not “take”)
The “Copyright Info” section in the observation detail page sidebar does not include information about photo/sound copyright. It is misleading because while the observation in this example is licensed in the public domain, the photo is actually licensed with a Creative Commons BY-NC license, meaning it is not in the public domain, and the photographer must be attributed and the photo only used for noncommercial purposes:
The photo copyright information is hidden behind tapping a small button in the bottom-center of the photo and is easily overlooked.
If is is retained, Edit>License should have options for changing the observation license and the photo licenses. It currently only allows editing of the observation license.
The copyright info area should have tooltips explaining what the difference between an observation license and a photo/sound license is. I would suggest having links to edit the license (viewable only by the observer) from this Copyright Info section.
(I don’t know what you want to do about the case where someone may have different types of licenses for the different media attached to the observation, but listing all of them separately would be much better than listing none of them.)