Live Camera Screenshot

Yes, you shouldn’t do this. It’s tempting because it seems like a lot of data could be gained from livestreams (which is probably true), BUT there are at least two key reasons not to do this.

  1. As others have noted, it is generally copyright infringement (many livecams note that they have rights to the stream). Even if it is not strictly copyright infringement, it would be uploading images produced by someone else which is discouraged on iNat.

  2. iNat is about individuals’ experiences with nature. Viewing a webcam really isn’t that. We could consider a similar situation - how would we treat users uploading screenshots from a nature documentary they watched as observations with the filming time and location? That is basically the same type of interaction (watching a depiction of nature on a screen), and I think most of us would agree that isn’t really what iNat is for.

The iNat help addresses this specific situation, noting:
“please do not upload screenshots from broadcasts of live cameras unless you are the owner of the live camera.”

On a more pragmatic side, I know there is at least one account that was suspended for repeatedly uploading screenshots from livestreams for cams that they did not own as observations.

There are several similar threads that address this issue that are worth a read:

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