Bad, Flickr. Bad!

Picture: Fall colors in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

Image: Fall colors in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

You have to say it like you’re scolding a misbehaving pet; “Bad, Flickr. Bad!” (Again)

So you’ve probably heard about Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer’s attempt to revitalize Yahoo. I can respect that. For the last month or so, I started posting an occasional image or two a week on Flickr, Yahoo’s photo sharing site. This was after a multi-year hiatus. I figured I’d check it out again and see how it has been evolving. Several weeks ago I learned through a number of places that Yahoo was looking for new employees to begin strategically monetizing Flickr. Even before Flickr partnered with Getty (first bad) I thought they should facilitate photographers who wanted to sell their work. Instead, Flickr opted to enforce a strict non-commercial community. OK; that’s their choice. The stance was said to be photographer community-friendly. Photographers couldn’t promote or sell their own work via Flickr, but they could do it through partnering with Getty.

Now it seems that Flickr’s monetization scheme includes holding a Yahoo News-themed photo contest with the insultingly bad transfer of rights being requested not just of a few winners, but for every image submitted.

According to the rules, by agreeing to the rules, you’re giving Flickr & Yahoo:

irrevocably grants to Promotion Entities and their affiliates, legal representatives, assigns, agents and licensees, the worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sublicensable, unconditional, perpetual and transferable right and license to copyright (only as applicable, as described below), reproduce, encode, store, modify, copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, publicly perform, adapt, exhibit and/or otherwise use or reuse (without limitation as to when or to the number of times used), the Entrant’s name, address, image, voice, likeness, statements, biographical material and Entry Materials, including, but not limited to, the photograph or digital image and performances contained in any of the above items, as well as any additional photographic images, video images, portraits, interviews or other materials relating to the Entrant and arising out of his/her participation in this Promotion (with or without using the Entrant’s name) (collectively, the “Additional Materials”) (in each case, as submitted or as edited/modified in any way, whether by the Promotion Entities, their licensees, or assigns, in the Promotion Entities’ sole discretion) in any media, format or medium throughout the world for any purpose, without limitation, and without additional review, compensation, or approval from the Entrant or any other party, except as prohibited by law;

v. except where prohibited by law, forever waives any rights of privacy, intellectual property rights, and any other legal or moral rights that may preclude Promotion Entities’ use of the Entrant’s Entry Materials or Additional Materials, or require the Entrant’s permission for Promotion Entities to use them for any purpose, and agrees to never sue or assert any claim against the Promotion Entities’ use of those Materials;

That’s a lot of rights to take from an Entry. It’s one thing to ask these rights of the few images selected as winners, but asking for every entry to agree to forever waive all intellectual property rights, agree never to assert a claim or sue for any (mis)use, and make make every entry sublicenseable seems to say Flickr must be thinking of maybe taking some of Getty’s pie for themselves? Why else would you ask for all these encompassing rights?

Bad, Flickr. Bad! Ask the winners to sign those rights away, but don’t just lay claim to every image entered by people who may well not be aware of what they’re giving up.

Oh, Yahoo, where for art thou? In the same bed with Facebook and Instagram’s lawyers, I fear.

< / RANT >

Image ID#: nhwm-1006

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6 Comments on “Bad, Flickr. Bad!”

  1. Flickr Offers a Photo Contest... and it's a Rights Grab - Daily Photo Thing Says:

    […] has a great writeup; you can read more on his website and avoid the contest. Filed Under: Business, Events Tagged With: contests, copyright, flickr, gary […]

  2. Maria Says:

    But still, people will enter. And Yahoo! will get what it likely wanted in the first place: hundreds (or thousands) of images it can mine for sales or use elsewhere. We are the product, not the customer.

  3. Vern Southard Says:

    Yep, until photographers refuse to allow their best work to be published and used for commercial and marketing purposes for free, our skills and craft will be considered as valueless as the zillions camera phone pictures taken every day. The local tourism agency has an “official” flikr page, that asks for images to be posted. But you have to give up your rights to their use or marketing advertising etc. Not posting on that site.

  4. Patricia Davidson Says:

    Wow, that is so surprising coming from Flickr! Thanks for the info Gary.

  5. Newsblast — 10 November 2013 Says:

    […] Here is an interesting Blog telling about the dangers of entering some on-line photo contests that take the rights to not only the winning images, but also all the images entered. enlightphoto....ber_58019071… […]

  6. David Leland Hyde (@PhilipHydePhoto) Says:

    Gary, thank you for this post and for the info about Flickr you sent via e-mail. Seems to me like some of these social media giants are thugs in this wild west internet, undermining artist’s rights to their own property and to making a living from such.

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