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I am a mobile developer and trying to work on a mobile application which will be something like the Guess the City app.

The app will display four landmarks on one screen and the player will have to guess the city. I am planning to use pictures licensed under some Creative Commons license.

If a page will have to display four pictures on its small display, there is little room left for attribution. Will it be sufficient to satisfy the license to list the name of the author and license - WITHOUT linking or having a hyperlink to the original content? Having a link to the original content will defeat the purpose of the game: if I provide the hyperlink they can follow the link which may tell which place it is.

Also, is it possible to have an info button for the license information at the top which will only link to the original image once the person has guessed the city?

Is it essential to have the picture connected to the original picture, or I can just have the author name and state the license name, and not have the hyperlinks?

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This is a better question than I first thought because, whilst there's lots of guides and FAQs on this subject, they are disorganised, duplicating, and don't cover mobile apps specifically. I'll try to gather all the relevant information here.

What you need to attribute

Unless you are using CC0, pretty much all CC licenses require attribution. The best guide I found is CC's article Best practices for attribution, which provides the handy acronym TASL, or Title, Author, Source, License. There is no one right form of attribution, but as long as you include all four, you are good. For example, this is a very minimal attribution that still satisfies TASL:

Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco by tvol / CC BY

Because it includes Title, Author, Source (linked via title), and License.

Unfortunately, there are a few details if you want your attributions to be perfect. For example, if you have modified the original, for versions 3.0 and up you need to note as such, and for version 4.0 the nature of the modifications. On the other hand, the title is not required for version 4.0.

How you should attribute

There's no specific guide on attribution in mobile apps, as these guides were written before the rise of mobile apps. There are different recommendations for online and offline attribution, the difference due to the ability to display working links. However, I'd argue that mobile apps are somewhere in between, because although you can display links, having those links be clickable may be bad UX. Let's look at the examples given in the guide Attributing Creative Commons Materials:

Books, journals and magazines

• Include the relevant attribution information next to the CC work or as a footer along the bottom of the work on the page that the work appears on; and

• Alternatively, you can list the CC works in the back of the publication. If you take this option, it is best to list the works in the order in which they appear in the publication and indicate this to the reader.

Photos and images

• Provide the relevant attribution next to the photograph, or close by (eg on the edge or bottom of the page) if that is too obtrusive.

Slideshows

• Include the relevant attribution information next to the CC work or as a footer along the bottom of the work on each slide that the work appears on; and

• Alternatively, you can include a ‘credits’ slide at the end of the show, that lists all the materials used and their attribution details.

Film

• Include the relevant attribution information with the work when it appears on screen during the film; and

• If this is not possible, attribute the work in the credits, just as you would see with music in a commercial film.

Podcasts

• Mention the name of the artist and that it is under a CC licence during the podcast, like a radio announcement, and provide full attribution on your website, next to where the podcast is available.

So you see there are a few common themes, which you can try:

  • Attribute right next to the CC work, whether that's along the edge, or in a footer on the same page. For mobile apps you want to be careful, due to the limited screen space this can be obtrusive.

  • Add a credits or about page in your app, where you list all the CC licensed works. Android itself provides a good example of this: if you go to Settings > About, there should be a section on open source licenses, and there is a lot. Note that unlike CC licenses which recommends links, typical software licenses require showing the license text in full.

  • Provide a link to a web page with full attributions. This is the least obtrusive option of the first two are unacceptable.

Other links

4

I'm not a lawyer, but I think you could treat your game as a series of slideshows (one slideshow per question), and follow the alternative rule that the answer by @congusbongus quoted:

• Alternatively, you can include a ‘credits’ slide at the end of the show, that lists all the materials used and their attribution details.

Consider each Question and the following 'correct' or 'incorrect' screen to be a 2-frame slideshow.

Use the "alternative" method, but with a separate 'credits' slide for each question, which could be the same slide where the 'correct' or 'incorrect' evaluation appears:

Your answer was [ ] correct [X] incorrect

The correct answer is "City, State/Province, Country"

"Image title" (c)Photographer, CC-BY, www.hostname.tld

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For photos and images, Creative Commons lists in their attribution guide

Provide the relevant attribution next to the photograph, or close by (eg on the edge or bottom of the page) if that is too obtrusive.

Where "relevant attribution" includes title, author, source and license. You shouldn't forgo linking to the source.

You indicate that attribution with a link to the source is difficult because of space constraints, and because having attribution may spoil the game. That's not nessecarily so.

You should have a link available to the source. What you could do is make the link automatically lose the round if the player wants to follow it. I imagine something like clicking the link after a guess is made would just follow a link, and before a guess is made show a popup with something along the lines of

Looking up the source of the image before giving your answer will automatically forfeit the round. [forfeit and continue to source] [cancel]

That way you won't spoil your game, and still give proper attribution.

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