I don’t often give talks on how to credit photographs in slideshows, but when I do, I show these:
Slideshows in dimly lit rooms have been putting audiences to sleep since the 1840s, long before Powerpoint, Prezi, and related software perfected the process. And for these shows, there’s been a long tradition of not giving credit to the photographers who made the images. For example, on magic lantern slides and 35mm slides – but the credit usually did appear on the frame, so at least the speaker knew the origin and details. That’s changed. Now speakers are using images they find on the internet and quickly paste into their shows to interrupt the painful sequences of bullet points and text too small too read. Attribution is rarely given, and the speaker doesn’t know, doesn’t care.
(The slide above is unattributed, as an example.) So why should we change — why should attribution be shared with the audience? One way to answer that is to ask the question, why should slideshows be any different than books, articles, and websites? Everyone accepts that photographers should get credit in those mediums. So why not during slideshows? Images on a slide should be attributed just like any quoted text should be cited (and enclosed within quotation marks). Providing image attribution and text citations are modern habits whereby the speaker humbly acknowledges his/her debt to others. The opposite of this humble and clear acknowledgment is to pretend that copied text and copied images are the speaker’s. The excuse, “but nobody acknowledges stolen text or images anymore” is extremely popular, but extremely lame. Attributions are useful, plus they are really, really easy to add.
Yes, I know that’s hard to read — that’s sort of the point. The credit is there, but audience not terribly motivated to read it because the font is small and the color is subtle. Audience is supposed to be paying attention to you, not reading all the photo creds. If you’re boring, of course, they’ll be reading the photo creds.
The hotlinks don’t work in the above (it’s just an image), so here are the links: Creative Commons image types, roadkill possum. Note that there are no rules about what information to include in an attribution (Creative Commons has suggestions), but photographer’s name is most important. But if all you have is a URL, use that! Also note that if you hate Powerpoint and Prezi (or are just lazy), Haiku Deck is software that generates the image credits automatically … you search for images within the program.
Photographers rarely have clear instructions on photo usage on their sites, so it’s always a good idea to ask. When contacting them, always remember to praise them (e.g., “Wow, that possum is really cute!!”) They might even have a better version for you to use. They might say no, but if you’re a teacher, chances are you can use it anyway (because of the “fair use” clause of U.S. Copyright Act).
The problem with vertical text, of course, is that it’s annoying to edit. But it’s perfect if you have photographs and images with 4 x 3 aspect ratio — just format your slides for 16 x 9 presentations, which leaves a big chunk of space on the side for attributions.
If you want an example of #3, this: perhaps you took a photograph and somebody in audience wants to know how tall an object was. Given your position and eye height when you took photograph, might be possible to estimate — so make it easy for them to contact you.
This is the part that many teachers choose to ignore. Especially teachers that are trying to make a name for themselves as Free Range, Open Source MOOC gurus. They think that because they are hip and work at an educational institution, they have a blanket waiver to use other people’s images and then post the slides to slideshare.net and such for the whole world to download and reuse. They probably know that sharing such files online is illegal (if they’ve used copyrighted images without first purchasing them), but they think it’s still OK … just like kids think it’s OK to share song files as long as they don’t get caught. But aside from the legal issues, publishing copyrighted photographs and illustrations on the internet is simply unkind to the photographers and illustrators on this planet — it reduces their ability to make a living, plus removes the control that an artist might want for an image. E.g., she might want a particular photograph to appear only in the context of a larger body of photographs.
Links: The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons, Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare, Washington State University Fair Use Guidelines,UCLA Drops Copyrighted Videos From Course Web Sites After Legal Threat,The TEACH Act. Also, this is great: Cite and Attribute Your Sources.
If you are really bored, here are my some of my posts on the evils of Powerpoint. And here are my other tip pages.