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It bothers me a bit that there are many famous illustrations that go up without attribution. Yes, it's "fair use" in most cases, but using it without attribution is still not right.

Can the image-handling tool have a field for attribution? Maybe the site it pulled the image from, if not explicitly set to something else, Yes-- of course links can go bad. Perhaps the attribution should be text, and not a live link.

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    \$\begingroup\$ But then how are people going to think I'm smart if I have to admit someone else did all the work? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3 '13 at 22:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ I often put the source of my image in the text for the image, the text you dont see unless it fails loading, also I think it appears if you hover, but that is probably made up thought on my mind. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Mar 4 '13 at 1:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think most do something like that, but many don't simply because they don't know they should. Maybe even having a text field simply available will do the trick \$\endgroup\$ Mar 4 '13 at 13:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very good idea, however, quite hard to implement (I think). When the source would be put in the markdown window, users can easily remove that. There is no other place to store that information though, unless the imgur service would be changed fundamentally. So I think we should have the source automatically added to the body of the post, and that the user -or a later editor- can remove it? \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Mar 8 '13 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ That would work pretty well. People can probably delete that too, but I don't think anybody would. Lack of citation is because people just don't know they should, or just forget, not anything more malicious. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 '13 at 21:09
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A bit of a Catch-22 (Joseph Heller I think it was just to attribute) situation I find myself in. I would have preferred to comment but do not have enough credibility yet so will answer instead and risk my meagre credibility, I hope the answer summarises the thoughts in the above comments in part.

Looking at Wikipedia entry for fair use https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairuse we can see that attribution is not directly related to fair use (search the article for 'Acknowledgment of the source makes a use fair').

Having a field that people can put in an attribution would be handy and would increase compliance with attribution.

Having a text box that pops up with information about fair use before you can check the tick box that says you believe the use of the image is fair or permission has been given by the copyright owner would solve that problem to a large degree.

It also seems that the global copyright landscape is not flat and never will be though fair use or similar relaxations exist in many countries for EDUCATIONAL purposes. With this in mind it might be 'safeish' to assume that much use of images on SE will be covered and perhaps a fair use undertaking check box is not needed and attribution could be added if it was easy to implement rather than as a requirement for legal need.

Personally I think the attribution feature would be nice to investigate associated images for more information about the question if it was copied from the web, sometimes a novice will neglect to link the pertinent data-sheet page and require more questions before a solution can be found.

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