Flickr reassures, ‘your photos are always yours’

Via its blog yesterday, flickr reassured its users that there are no changes with its copyright and usage rights. The issue cropped up last week when twitpic updated it’s terms of use. – a very good summary from Boing Boing is here, with a comparison of various sites’ copyright notices.

Flickr writes:

At Flickr, your photos are always yours.

There has been some discussion on the web as of late about image ownership on photo sites so we wanted to take a moment to address this on Flickr.

Here at Flickr, we’re all about helping you share your photos. That’s what photos are for. Sharing and remembering what you see, with the people that matter to you.

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. Our Terms of Service allow us to, “use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo! Services solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available.” (Please see Section 9b of the Terms of Service for the full text.)

This grants Flickr the right to provide the Flickr service, i.e. create the small, medium, and large sizes, display your photos on the site, etc. It doesn’t mean that we own them. When you upload your photos to Flickr, you retain the rights to your images.

In fact, when you upload to Flickr you set the kind of license that you want to apply to the photos, ‘All Rights Reserved’ is the default, or you can select one of the many flavors of Creative Commons licenses. The choice is yours and you maintain control over how your photo can be used by others. If you want to make your photo available for use by everybody in the world, license it using Getty Images, or to license it to a fancy magazine, it’s up to you.

Unless I’m really missing something, sounds OK to me.

I’m not quite sure what the painting, La Servante de harem (1874), by Paul-Désiré Trouillebert, has to do with this. It’s just simply the first thing that came to mind. I snapped this at the Musee des Beaux Arts in Nice in late March, and it’s one of over 250 pics of paintings and other works of art I’m making available to others via Creative Common license.

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