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Flickr’s new owners have promised not to delete photos uploaded under a Creative Commons license. So, while SmugMug has taken flak for limiting free Flickr users to 1,000 photos, the company deserves credit for not gutting the Commons archive.
Flickr Recognizes the Value of Commons Photos
In a Flickr blog post, Don MacAskill, the CEO of SmugMug, explains that photos uploaded under a Commons license are safe from the chop. Flickr Commons Photos will not be deleted, and Creative Commons photos uploaded before November 1, 2018, are also safe.
Thank you to @DonMacAskill @SmugMug for their commitment to preserving the millions of CC licensed photos on @Flickr
We look forward to seeing how communities continue to grow on the platform, working together for a more equitable and innovative future.https://t.co/txh6xTtAWg
— Creative Commons (@creativecommons) November 7, 2018
The caveat is that if a free user has more than 1,000 photos, they won’t be able to upload any more photos, CC license or not, unless and until they upgrade to a Pro account. Thankfully, Flickr is offering free Pro accounts to charitable organizations.
Ryan Merkley, the CEO of Creative Commons, said:
“We’ll be working with Flickr to look for ways to continue growing and archiving the commons. When Flickr users apply CC licenses to their works, they are inviting everyone to use their works freely and with very few restrictions. That’s an incredible gift to the world, and that generosity should be acknowledged and preserved into perpetuity for everyone to enjoy.”
Unfortunately, this offer only applies to photos uploaded with a CC license before November 1, 2018. Which means you can’t suddenly switch all of your Flickr photos to a CC license in order to circumvent the new limit on free accounts.
While we can understand Flickr’s reasons for this, it’s actually a bit of a shame. Waiving the 1,000 photos limit for all CC-licensed images, no matter when they were uploaded, could have led to an influx of photos being offered under a CC license.
Act Now Before Flickr Starts Deleting Your Photos
Keeping photos licensed under The Flickr Commons or Creative Commons online and available to everyone is important. Especially as many of us have already used these images on our websites, and so don’t want to see them suddenly disappear from view.
Assuming you haven’t uploaded your photos under a Commons license you may need to download your Flickr photos at their original resolutions before the new limits come into force. Because, come February 2019, Flickr is set to start actively deleting your photos.