Flickr to sell photos and keep all the profit

That’s the news that has come in the last week or so, that Flickr, the photo sharing site, has decided that it would sell canvas prints of some of its users photos, uploaded to their website and not pay a penny in royalties.
Now there are a couple of things to note here.

  1. They are not breaking any laws
  2. They will pay 51% of revenue if they use your photo AND the photos license isn’t set to CC
  3. You can stop them doing it

Flickr aren’t breaking any laws in what they are doing and they are only selling prints where the license permits. They are doing this for photos that have the CC License. The spirit of this license is that photographers allow other people to use these photos for whatever purpose they like. Yes, technically, you are giving anybody permission to use, print, even sell these photographs. Yes, if you specifically didn't want people to do this, there are plenty of License options available. I had quite a few photos set with this Creative Commons license, and have had a few used for projects by people, website and print. It’s kind of my way of giving back – I also have an account with for exactly the same purpose. What I didn’t intend the license to allow, was for a large corporate to make money off them and not compensate me. Flickr kind of broke the spirit of the license in my opinion. I’m not alone in that feeling either, plenty of people have taken to Twitter to vent their disgust and objections.

Some people are fine with it – and are happy of the additional exposure of their photographs. Good for them I say, hope it gives you that extra bit of exposure. I personally think it’s wrong and as such I have changed the license to all my photos on Flickr. Now some of the photos, a couple of client projects and a couple of personal images had the All Rights Reserved license anyway, but some of my local photography in Doncaster and Leeds, I’d set for people to use if they wanted. The license now means I can’t do that – although if anybody does need to use an image, just drop me a message and I’ll sort the photo out for you. My Flickr Account is here

So what can you do to stop Flickr selling your photographs? Changing the license appears to be the only way. If you have a lot of photos on Flickr this may seem a bit daunting, but don’t worry, it isn’t. I’ve created a little video of how to quickly change the license on all your photos – if you aren’t a regular user of Flickr, it isn’t that obvious on how to do it.

So Flickr, from now on, you don’t have the right to use my photographs to make money. I hope you’ll rethink your stance on this, continue to make money from the adverts and Pro-license – and leave peoples image alone.

How To Change The Flickr License Settings For All Your Photos