Flickr copyright infringement: a new take.
Put your work on Flickr and expect to have it stolen… that was the message from a significant crowd.
And it wasn’t entirely unreasonable. If one wanted to swipe a photo, Flickr was a place one could do that1.
While Flickr has always been known for giving photographers a broad choice of licensing options (ranging from the restrictive “All Rights Reserved” all the way up the spectrum to allowing one to make their work available in the public domain), one of the biggest criticisms of the service has always been that it was an easy location for folks looking to swipe free photos regardless of the license.
Tackling the Fear of Stolen Photos
A new partnership between Flickr and Pixsy tackles this issue head on.
Pixsy is a image monitoring and legal service for photographers which provides services related to copyright including investigations and cases relate to copyright infringement, whether that’s a full-blown lawsuit or something as straightforward as a DMCA takedown notice.
Yesterday Flickr announced a partnership where Flickr Pro members now receive a suite of Pixsy services2 at no additional charge. This should make it easier to pursue infringement cases if your work does get swiped.
Pixsy’s fee model is such that if a case is pursued and won, Pixsy and the photographer split the award 50/50. This gives Pixsy an incentive to only pursue cases with merit, and makes for a straightforward payment model without the variability of traditional legal costs. Could a photographer potentially recover more damages by coordinating a case on their own through a more traditional attorney? Yes. But Pixsy’s model is one of simplification and there’s a place for that in the market. This will undoubtedly make the pursuit of infringement cases more accessible to photographers.
Flickr Copyright Infringement Happens; Enforcement Can Happen Too
One way to avoid car accidents is to never be inside a car.
One way to avoid copyright infringement of your photos is to never share them on the internet.
Both of those statements are pretty silly in 2019.
Photographers need to share their work online and Flickr is one of the ways to reach a broad audience. Despite rumors that the social network is abandoned and dead, my personal account continues to see thousands of views per day, which has added up to over two million views of my images.
With rare exception (are you Trey Ratcliff?), you’re not going to get two million views of your work on your personal website.
Flickr’s partnering with Pixsy is an acknowledgement that Flickr copyright infringement exists and that it can be addressed without an extremist approach. Pixsy isn’t just a legal partnership… its roots are in media search, where it’s been a player for over ten years. The combination of media monitoring along with the ease of filing infringement notices and cases is a powerful combination, and bringing it to the huge number of photographers on Flickr is a nice step forward.
Since SmugMug bought Flickr, they’ve been saying that Flickr should be a site for serious photographers. Adding the Pixsy legal services as a perk for Flickr Pro members is 100% in alignment with that vision.
I’ll be enabling the Pixsy features on my account soon and hope to make a screencast showing the experience and with some further thoughts.
Have you used Pixsy? What do you think of this as a new Flickr perk?