Why flickr won’t be selling my photos

20141202-featured20141218A welcome update/retraction from flickr 

If you are a flickr member you may have seen at least one of these high profile commentaries about flickr’s recent shenanigans:


Thomas Hawk: The Controversy Around flickr Selling Creative Commons Licensed Photos

Cnet: Some photographers bristle over Flickr’s selling of photos

PetaPixel: Flickr Taking Heat from CC Photographers for Selling Their Work as Wall Art Without Compensation

“More than 300 million publicly shared Flickr images use Creative Commons licenses, making it the largest content partner. Yahoo last week said it would begin selling prints of 50 million Creative Commons-licensed images as well as an unspecified number of other photos handpicked from Flickr.” –WSJ

The default license on flickr is “©All Rights Reserved”, unless you change your default license to one of the Creative Commons Licenses which allows others to use your uploaded photos. Since signing up in 2006, at least 99% of my images have been tagged either © or licensed under a BY-NC-ND Creative Commons License (the same license in my site’s sidebar) and therefore, thankfully, not eligible for this new “feature.”

“Yahoo says it is complying with the terms of Creative Commons by selling only images that permit commercial use.” -WSJ

While there may be nothing illegal about what flickr is doing with images that have a Creative Commons “Attribution” License**, there is a very wide moral chasm  between an individual ordering a printed wall art image from their own photostream and flickr offering those same images for sale to 3rd parties.

Come on flickr! Don’t be that guy.*

(*from the flickr “Community Guidelines“)

** Just to clarify, the images being sold by flickr are any images that have a CC License that does not include the “Non-Commercial” clause, not just those that only have an “Attribution” License.

Holding On vs. Letting Go – The Future of Online Imagery

So you think you have a good reason or excuse to use a photo you found on the Internet without asking the photographer who took it? Let’s see if it can stand the test.

via 10 Bogus Excuses People Use When They Steal Photos from the Web.

This article started life as a note on why anyone would steal your photo given the number of free or low-cost resources available to bloggers today. As I was writing it, the universe kept tripping me up by throwing articles at me on letting your digital images go, some with very compelling arguments/viewpoints. For example:

If you were to take an informal survey of everyone in your morning train/bus/subway/tram car commute whether they would license their photos in such a manner so as to let other people use them freely, without knowing what the end-product was, I suspect that there would be a split along age lines, with those having grown up from day one in the Digital Age being more likely to let their photos go. Before you jump on me for being ageist, stop and think about how the overall attitude towards online privacy has tipped over the last 5-10 years and what demographic has joined the online community in that time.

And to add to the mix, the flipside:

As a photographer who has encountered her photos used both with and without permission, I still tend to cling to the idea that it couldn’t hurt to ask beforehand, even if my Creative Commons licensed photos both here and on flickr don’t really require it. It’s the human thing to do.


  • h/t to @MacManXcom for posting the video on twitter
  • Featured Image: David Hume Kennerly [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

* Update 22 November 2013: Photographer wins $1.2 million from companies that took pictures off Twitter

Carousel? More Like a Roller Coaster!

Thanks to Google Alerts, today I discovered a new thread in the Community Support Forums about the Gallery feature.  The Gallery Carousel that WordPress.com implemented in November last year has finally gotten some Staff attention so that every photo’s EXIF data is being displayed (if your photo has EXIF data attached to it when you upload), to a hastily renamed “Download Original”  to “View Full Size” link, disproportionately large image titles, double scroll bars (lulz web design!), and most probably a host of other goodies. Most importantly there’s NO WAY to get to the image’s Attachment page because the “Permalink” has been replaced with “Reblog”.

Changes to the Gallery Carousel

If you have an opinion about all this, do please stop in the Forum discussion and let Staff know what you think.

Update: As these changes to the Carousel are a work-in-progress and user opinion is, thankfully, being considered, an option to hide the (EXIF) metadata in the Gallery Carousel has now been added. You can find it in your Dashboard>Settings>Media >Image Galleries.

Another Update! Fantastic! Not only can users choose to display EXIF metadata or not, we can now choose the Photo Carousel’s background color (available in fab black or lustrous white) or choose to turn off the Photo Carousel completely and revert to the original Gallery function of displaying either the larger image or an image attachment page.

Thank you WordPress.com for listening to your users!

The buzz about flickr

How timely! My 2-year flickr pro subscription expired this past weekend and it looks like flickr got a whirlwind of a makeover at the same time.

Not that flickr and I have been the best of friends over the last couple of years, given that flickr has become the defacto “go to” service for many people’s search for images to use on their websites and my past serendipitous experiences of finding my flickr photos used on sites without my permission or without attribution. flickr has gone through a lot of changes from those halcyon days when I signed up just over 7 years ago (pre-Yahoo! even).  Where once flickr was for me a vibrant photo community, it turned into not much more than photo storage and, quite frankly, not even that. Over the last two years, I may have uploaded around 100 photos and for that I can use my backup drive or any other online storage. Makes me wonder why I’m even considering plunking down another $25 for an annual subscription.

Will the changes coming to flickr (including an in-house replacement for Picnik) get me excited again about using flickr again? Not just now, but I’ll keep an open mind.

It’s Times Like These, Act II

Again, a website has used a copyrighted image from my flickr photostream without my permission.

This time it wasn’t discovered by serendipity; They left a comment on the photo in my flickr photostream, since deleted by them, with a link to their online article where my photo appears. Not only did they barefacedly take the image, which clearly shows “© All Rights Reserved” in my photostream, they also did not bother to credit the photographer (me). But certainly the most galling of all is that they note in their very lengthy onsite  “Copyright & Trademark” notice that all images on their site are owned or licensed. Sorry, but no.

The site owner replied to my flickr mail this morning that the image has since been deleted from their site. Still, anyone running a website of any size (especially one of this size and breadth) should know copyright basics. There really isn’t any excuse. Sadly , however, looking a little further on I see another copyrighted photo this website has “faved” on flickr and used in an article on their website.

Again, what chutzpa.

Some copyright resources you should check out: