Improve viewing & editing copyright information on observations

idk where we’re at on open vs. closed feature requests, but thought I’d drop in this graphic that I thought was pretty well done:

The spec has been written and shared, but I think we’re focusing on CNC for now. Thanks @bouteloua!

Opening until implemented or staff decide not to move forward with the request.

Not a lawyer or anything, but my understanding is that if you relicense something to be more restrictive, you don’t replace the license at all, and the user of whatever is being licensed just gets to choose which of the two licenses to follow? (so, it’s not even “the older terms”, both terms still apply?).

Of course, as mentioned later, this doesn’t help if there’s no history of previous licenses. I’d suggest a small “see older licenses” button somewhere on the UI, not because iNat legally must do it, but because it would be the nice thing to do :)


Just chiming in that I was genuinely fooled by the observation license vs. photo license information presentation here on iNat. I used an all rights reserved © photo in an iNat journal entry (with attribution and a link-back, thinking that it was released under a (CC) license), not realizing that the (CC) license applied only to the observation, not the photo. I also, less seriously, claimed a photo was public domain when it actually had a (CC) license (I had given attribution and a link-back anyway), again because the license on the lower right section of the observation page itself was “public domain”.

I ran into this issue. I have been using a Wikimedia commons user-script that allows reuse of iNaturalist on commons and by extension on Wikipedia.
This script only imports Wikimedia compatible licenses (CC0, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA), yet this week I was confronted with a copyright violation on one of the uploaded content. The (current) license is indeed incompatible with reuse on Wikimedia platforms.

One possibility is that the user changed the license since I reused it, but I currently have no way of checking (or do I?). I could make a date-stamped copy of any reused observation from iNaturalist on for example the Internet Archive, but such a model is not really sustainable. Basically it would create yet another copy of the same picture. Next to GBIF and Wikimedia Commons.

A small “see older licenses” button would really help here. The copyright violation message on Wikimedia commons comes with a warning:
Wikimedia Commons takes copyright violations very seriously and persistent violators will be blocked from editing.
This button would make it very easy to check if I messed up, the user-script has a bug, or the license simply changed.

May I revive this feature request?