Wednesday, 03 December 2014 03:05
In what can only be described as a very unfortunate move, Flickr recently decided to sell some of their users' Creative Commons licensed images for profit, mosty THEIR profit.
According to a November 24, 2014, Wall Street Journal article, "Fight Over Yahoo’s Use of Flickr Photos" (subscription only):
"…(a Flickr user is) not happy about a recent move by Yahoo Inc., Flickr’s owner, to make canvas prints from the photos she and others post to the site, sell them for up to $49 apiece and keep all of the profits." WSJ
For those who cannot access the WSJ story, Daniel J. Cox, at his Corkboard blog, sums up the controversy nicely, and calls on Flickr users to just delete their accounts!
"If you don’t delete your account, you’re allowing a multi-billion dollar corporation (Forty Billion based on this article printed October, 2014 in the Economist) to make even more profit from your hard-earned photos which you receive nothing for (if you were goofy enough to agree to their Creative Commons contract)." Daniel J. Cox, Corkboard blog
Flickr's Creative Commons licensed images are already generously hijacked by ad-supported or revenue generating sites (even by deep-pocket news sites) as decorations for their stories. Images attract and keep eyeballs on these text-heavy sites.
Any internet marketer will tell you, "You need images, images, images to gain audience share!". Higher page views, enhanced by the "sticky-ness" of images, generate increased ad revenues and build brand awareness, even on so-called "free advice" pages.
"Share and share alike" needs a reality check in today's internet: the CC license adds dollars to an internet entrepreur's pocket, not yours.
Images add great value to the internet, and their free use is rampant, even if that image is designated CC-NC (no commercial use). Flickr, with its hundreds of millions of images, is THE go-to place for "free", while the risk of being "caught" is slight. In the rare case that a Flickr user notices a violation of their CC-NC license, they usually have little knowledge of how to proceed with a takedown and recovery fee. You can help, however, by reporting commerical use to a Flickr user. Just follow their attribution link.
Unfortunately, all previous uses of your CC license carry the original license terms forever. That license carries over onto any derivatives and shares, and throughout the many thousands of subsequent iterations they will go through, ad infinitum. Did you read the CC terms carefully before you accepted them?
If you have thousands of images with Flickr and find it too cumbersome to change licenses in buik, consider deleting your account. Why allow others to make money from your good faith efforts? If you are a U.S. citizen, it is a Constitutional right, as spelled out in the U.S. Copyright Act, that allows you to control where and how your images are used. Use that right!
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who are pro-active in defending photographers rights.