Late last week, Flickr rolled out a change that widens the reach of it’s collaboration with Getty Images and allows anyone on Flickr to offer their photos for sale via the Getty program.
Previously, the Flickr+Getty partnership was essentially invitation-only, where selected photographers would be invited to have selected photos represented by Getty. Now, photographers can opt-in to allowing any of their public photos to be licensed via Getty. Photographers will see a “Want to license your photos through Getty Images?” link in the “Additional Information” section of their public photo pages. Clicking the link leads to the preferences screen (shown partially in the screenshot) where a photographer can opt-in to allowing Getty to manage licensing of their public photos.
For photographers who choose to participate, a link will be added to all of their public photos page that allows a viewer to request to license the photo. When a request is made, a Getty editor will manage the deal between the photographer and the buyer.
Will This Impede Licensing Deals?
At first this sounds like a great way for photographers to license their work, but I’ve started to think more about it and I wonder how this might over-complicate the behind-the-scenes licensing deals that already occur on Flickr. It’s not uncommon for a photographer to receive a licensing request via Flickr and work with a buyer to arrange terms and payment; will the introduction of Getty into the picture lead to less of the informal deals? Might folks be put off by the formal nature of introducing a third party?
And What About that Non-Commercial Angle?
As most Flickr users know, Flickr prohibits commercial use of the service. From their terms of service:
Flickr is for personal use only. If we find you selling products, services, or yourself through your photostream, we will terminate your account.
We’ve seen in the past that Flickr is quick to delete accounts without warning for this reason. By rolling Getty licensing out to every user, it’s clear that Flickr is fine with commercial use as long as Flickr gets a piece of that deal. If this was about allowing users choice or flexibility, I’d be able to add a link that allows users to license photos directly through me. That’s not what it’s about. By forcing users to license through Getty, Flickr can control the terms and presumably earn a portion of Getty’s proceeds on the deals.
Are you going to offer your Flickr stream to be licensed via Getty? Does this feature excite you or do you feel limited by the lack of licensing options on Flickr?