Yahoo wants to make money off photos people have been using for free for years. The company recently announced it’s going to start selling photos on Flickr that are licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.
Photographers use the commercial Creative Commons license as a way to let other artists, publishers, designers, or businesses use their work for free, even if it’s work they plan on selling or using in advertising. Yahoo will now take 50 million commercially licensed works and sell them—without giving the photographers any profits.
Yahoo is also selling hand-selected pieces from photographers through its Flickr Marketplace and those photographers will receive 51 percent of net sales.
“When Flickr decided to sell the photos outright with no cut to the people who took the photos, it struck me as something not part of Creative Commons, but purely parasitic,” William Pietri, a San Francisco-based developer said in an interview with the Daily Dot.
In response, Pietri removed Creative Commons licensing from all his photos, which are now designated “All Rights Reserved.” Others across the Internet are doing the same, or leaving the photo-sharing site altogether.
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If you’re a photographer who wants to let others use your work, but don’t want to have Yahoo making money for photos you shot, there are a few alternatives.
On deviantART, you can upload your photos, graphics, or any other art and license it for Creative Commons use. Over 150,000 art works are uploaded each day, and millions of those are licensed for commercial use.
Photographers can use 500px to store, share, and sell photography, while also licensing some as commercial under Creative Commons for others to use. The company told the Wall Street Journal that they do not sell works that are licensed commercially.
The database of over 20 million photos are free for anyone to use, and for anyone to contribute to. Wikimedia Commons also has a monthly photo challenge to help photographers find inspiration and improve their skills.
While there’s still some confusion about what Google+ actually is, the photo-sharing and storage options on the social network are robust. You can save your full resolution images for free up to 30GB, or pay $10/month for 1TB. While Google+ does not have the option to label as Creative Commons automatically, you can do so in the image description.
Yahoo’s decision to sell Creative Commons photos isn’t illegal—the license says photos designated for commercial use can be used for any purpose, including being sold by a company like Yahoo—but it’s not in the spirit of the license, Pietri said. And it’s just the latest move by Yahoo to upset the Flickr community, some of which have thousands of photos stored after years of contributing to Flickr.
“If it were some random bottom-feeder on the Internet, I wouldn’t care—but this is Flickr, this is Yahoo,” Pietri said. “They should know better.”
Photo by wka/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)