Your Flickr images are possibly for sale!


Senior Member
Nov 3, 2014
Oklahoma, USA
With no royalty to user unless you are one of the "hand picked" ones.

I have noted that many of you use Flickr. I do too. Many of CS photos are deluxe eye candy and I imagine that some will be caught in the Flickr net.

Personally I do not mind people using my images for whatever but if I have even one snap that gets chosen and they sell even just one 50 dollar canvas with no money to me I am going to be royally PO'd.

So here you go read all about it...


Staff member
Apr 26, 2008
It's not just about being 'hand picked'.

It should be stressed that Flickr is only doing this on Creative Commons licensed photos where free commercial use is permitted by the license.
They are using images that the creators/photographers have deliberately released under the most liberal CC-BY license, which allows for usage by anyone for any purpose with the only requirement being attribution. Anyone who releases an image under CC-BY is really saying "Yes, anyone is welcome to use and exploit my image for commercial use for free, as long as you credit me."

I think Yahoo could have done a better job of communicating this to members whose images have been selected, especially since a good number of them might have released their images under CC without fully understanding what it meant at that point.

I think these two blog posts sum it up pretty well.

Some people have remarked that this move by Flickr to sell photos for profit will make people think twice about allowing commercial use of their work. To that I say …good! It has become clear that some people haven’t put enough thought into their licensing choices—they never asked “What’s the worst that could happen?”

And let’s be clear here: this isn’t some kind of bait’n’switch by Flickr. It’s not like liberal Creative Commons licensing is the default setting for photos hosted on that site. The default setting is copyright, all rights reserved. You have to actively choose a more liberal licence.

So I’m trying to figure out how it ended up that people chose the wrong licence for their photos. Because I want this to be perfectly clear: if you chose a licence that allows for commercial usage of your photos, but you’re now upset that a company is making commercial usage of your photos, you chose the wrong licence.
I think a lot of people though don’t consider the full implications of the license that they choose and like Stewart I wonder if the revenue is worth potential lost goodwill in this case. Some people will inevitably be put off when they see that the community (and Flickr is as much a community as a company) that is hosting their photos for them is now selling them without sharing the profit or asking for permission. Reminding people to read the fine print of their photo license that they chose without really considering it thoughtfully might not be the best answer to that complaint. People on Flickr LOVE to complain about anything and everything.

I think Flickr does have to figure out how to pay for a free terabyte of storage for every user and maybe this is one way to do that.

I haven’t been asked to participate in the online print marketplace, but if I was and was offered a 51% payout, I’d probably say yes. Anything 50% or better feels pretty fair to me. I create the image, but Flickr is driving the traffic to it for sale and handling fulfillment, etc. If I were to have a physical gallery sell my works, I’d probably be looking for a similar cut.

The idea of selling Creative Commons images and getting to keep all of the money is interesting to Yahoo I’m sure, but maybe Flickr would be better off instead focusing on more of a total revenue share model for the entire effort and treating CC images like they treat CCNC and all rights reserved images. I bet people who license their work CC would be pleased if their images too were handpicked for inclusion and they got paid for use. Even if it were a small amount, it would be a positive affirmation to them about their photography and that would feel good.


New Member
Jun 12, 2009
That's why you use CC-non-commercial.

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