If Dave Pell Won’t Attribute His Images I Guess Someone Has to Help

Alan Levine
May 23, 2017 · 4 min read

I don’t know Dave Pell but I read his medium posts. He’s a good writer, and publishes NextDraft “a quick and entertaining look at the day’s most fascinating news.” Dave has 126,000 followers on medium.

He uses great lead photos in his posts.

He never, ever, as far as I can see, attributes the sources of his photos. I chased one down he used and found it came from a copy lifted from a fee based stock photo site.

I posted what I thought was a respectful reply but heard nada. I only have 1800 followers on medium, so I’m small time.

Maybe he just does not know how. Maybe I can help.

Do you see that photo above? Do you see what’s in the caption? Attribution. The funny thing is… that’s my photo. By the technical reading of copyright and Creative Commons licenses, I do not have to attribute my own photos.

But I do. Always.

Not because of the law, but because it sets the stage for readers to know where images come from. Because attribution is not about following rules, it’s giving credit to the source of photos. Because it’s about saying thank you, a lesson my Mom instilled in me.

So here is Dave’s most recent story (it’s pretty good IMHO) (the writing)

Nice photo.

No attribution.

I had an eerie feeling that the photo might be my own. I have taken photos of the optometry goggles several times while I wait for Dr Risser to check my eyes.

It’s not hard to find the source. A right/option click in Chrome, Search Google for image.


The first item under “Visually similar images” is definitely a match.

That was easy.

You can deduce without too much difficulty that the same photo shows up on web sites of optometrists as well as SEO keyword sites.

But the last one looks like possible likely source, a page at HD Image Lab.

The site itself gives zero clue to what it’s purpose is, nary an About page. Just images and a “Contact Us” button.

But the entry for the image that Dave used has a “source” link, leading me to a gallery page of Oklahoma City optometrist Dr Kenneth Guthrie

It’s a fair guess that this is Dr Guthrie’s own (copyrighted) photo. His phone number is right there, I could easily call him to confirm.

But Dave Pell must be too busy to bother chasing down the source of the image. It took me 3 minutes (writing this post takes 10 times as long) to find the source. I guess I have too much free time.

It’s questionable whether Dave Pell has the rights to use Dr Guthrie’s copyrighted photo, but regardless, here is an attribution Dave Pell could put below the photo he cribbed from Google. If Dave Pell cared.

Photo by Dr Kenneth Guthrie http://www.okcoptometrist.com/gallery/picture-016/

My problem with Dave Pell is not the obvious copyright violation.

It’s that he publishes columns every day for over 120,000 followers, and perpetuates the myth that it’s ok to grab photos from the internet, use them, and not give one shred of credit or appreciation.

And that is shitty.

I can’ promise to do Dave Pell’s attribution work for him every day. But maybe others out there can end a hand.

Or maybe Dave Pell can just start doing the right thing.

Alan Levine

Written by

Barks about and plays with web tech. Likes photography, guitars, storytelling, blogging, biking, coding, the Who. Hates likes, egos, spammers. Has shots.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade