Uploading ''Permission-given'' photos (?)

I have a friend which is a very active photographer and has a big collection of photos (old and new) for many Greek organisms, some of which have rarely or even never been photographed before (e.g., some isopod or millipede species). He would like to share those photos in iNat, but, unfortunately, because of his many work-related and personal issues and duties he doesn’t have the time or the mood to create and maintain an iNat account. However, he has repeatedly told me that he would be more than happy if I (who already have an account and being really active here) could upload them for him. I have told him that it would be better if he makes an account of his own, but he insists that because of his extremely tight schedule and the fact that I have helped him so many times in the identification of rarely seen, obscure species (e.g., isopods), it would be better if I take his photos, edit them when necessary (e.g., splitting one when it contains two or more species) and then upload them in iNat. As a result, he has kindly given me the full permission to edit and upload them here. So, my question is the following: After all these, can I still upload his photos, of course ALWAYS noticing the true copyright holder in EVERY observation [e.g., with a phrase like ‘‘This/These photo(s) was/were taken by and belongs to (my friend’s name), who kindly gave me the permission to upload it/them here’’] or is it still against the rules of the site?

Thanks a lot for the answers and the time given to read this message!

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Better create your friend an own account, I do it for my husband, I wouldn’t upload ayone else’s photo under my account without strong reason and without me seeing the organism on photos. For copyright matters it’s still better to upload them separately.
If you want search the forum, this question appears quite often and was discussed.


I don’t know what iNat’s official policy on this sort of thing is, but, as someone who has been through some intense copyright law workshops as part of my job, I can tell you that copyright is irrelevant in this type of situation. Copyright laws exist to protect rights holders, and only rights holders are legally allowed to enforce it. If the rights holder has already given you permission (especially if you have it in writing), you’re 100% protected from any potential legal issues related to the copyright.

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One way that you could “compromise” here is by making a new account in your friend’s name that you both have access to. That way the observations on iNat would be under their name and the Creative Commons rights (or whatever you pick) would be in their name as well. They could check in on the account too, to see what has been uploaded and how it has been ided.

I’m not sure how iNat itself looks on this, but it doesn’t seem too different to parents who have accounts that they help run for kids who are too young to have their own accounts to me.

Also, I agree with @daniel_e : if you have it in writing that the rights holder has given you permission to post, this shouldn’t be a copyright issue.


See staff responses to similar questions here and here.

The short version is that this sort of thing is tolerated, but discouraged (see above links for details).


I frequently upload images taken by trail cameras belonging to an organization where I volunteer. We created an account in that organization’s name to distinguish images I took from those that the organization owns. This has been an easy solution and no one has raised any concerns about it. The only very minor downside has been that I need to remember to check who I am logged in as before I start uploading.

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