Can I use the photos and sounds that are posted on iNaturalist?

Modified on Fri, 2 Feb at 1:23 PM

iNaturalist does not own the media that our users post here, they belong to the people who upload them. 

By default, all media uploaded to iNaturalist are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license. However, some people have chosen to revoke the Creative Commons license to retain complete legal control over copies of their media, while others have chosen different versions of the Creative Commons license. Some users choose to waive their copyright entirely in the form of the CC0 declaration. It’s important to understand these options when deciding whether or not you can use each piece of media. iNaturalist is not able to determine whether your specific use of the photo or sound abides by the terms of the license, so please don't ask us. You should consult with a lawyer.


On an observation page, you’ll see two symbols over the bottom of each photo. The symbol on the left will either be CC or C, denoting that a photo has been released under a Creative Commons license or if full copyright has been retained, respectively.


  • If a photo has a Creative Commons license (CC), it means that you are free to use it under certain conditions. For example, if it is licensed as CC BY-NC, you can use the photo for non-commercial purposes as long you properly attribute the photographer. Clicking on the CC symbol will show the specific CC license and link to an explanation of the license.

  • If the photo is not licensed (C), you will have to obtain explicit permission from the user who posted the photo. See this FAQ for information about contacting iNaturalist users.

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