Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Why I’m sticking with Flickr

After the recent (and hopefully, ongoing) uproar over Yahoo!’s failure to implement encryption on its Mail app and other sites, it might seem surprising that I’d write this post. And yet, while I will continue to push for Yahoo! to get its act together and secure its sites, I want to give a bit of praise where due, to Flickr.

In the wake of Instagram’s “suicide note” (as one publication called it)—that is, its new TOS—folks are quitting the service en masse. For a simple understanding as to why, you might check out actor Wil Wheaton’s excellent blog post. As a side note, I think it’s fascinating how celebrities have so quickly picked up on and rallied around this issue (if only that were true of other civil liberties violations).

So that brings me to Flickr. Surely it’ll come as no surprise that Yahoo! innovation has stagnated over the years. And the site is not without its problems. But in my view, the benefits of Flickr—beyond the mere aesthetics, which I’ve always loved—outweigh those, assuming we keep the pressure on. So what are they?  Three primary things:

  • Integration with Creative Commons.  When you upload to Flickr, it’s easy to select a Creative Commons license with which to release your photos.  It’s also easy to search Flickr by various CC types.  This is something that, as Ryan Singel wrote this week, Facebook has failed to notice the appetite for.  And while that may never be important for Facebook as a platform, it is most definitely an important choice for Instagram users.
  • Pretty good Terms of Use.  Mind you, I’ve criticized these before and I’m sure I will again.  But Flickr’s Community Guidelines are filled with intent to ensure photographers get credit for their work (regardless of the license they choose).  This is most apparent in their requirement that users who embed Flickr photos link back to the site:
  • Flickr makes it possible to post content hosted on Flickr to other web sites. However, pages on other web sites that display content hosted on flickr.com must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr. This provides a way to get more information about the content and the photographer.
  • Ownership.  I can’t stress this enough.  To photographers, ownership matters.  And Flickr is fully aware of that, as laid out in a 2011 blog post, which stresses the following:
  • We feel very strongly that sharing online shouldn’t mean giving up rights to your photos. Our Terms of Service clearly spell out that Flickr/Yahoo! doesn’t own the photos that you upload. You, as a member, maintain all ownership rights to the photos that you upload to Flickr

And now, with the latest iteration of Flickr’s app, the service is becoming infinitely more useful.  And that, my friends, is why I’m sticking with Flickr.

2 Comments

  1. People definitely went overboard with their instagram reactions. What did you expect when you uploaded your photos to a public third party?? Go Flickr!

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