Image Credit: The Advocacy Project CC Licence BY-NC-SA
I often need images to use in presentations or workshops, so one of my first ports of call is Flickr's advanced search tool, to help find images with a suitable Creative Commons licence. Earlier today, I was searching for images of schools and learning around the world, and found the stunning photograph which was exactly the image I was looking for. Checking the metadata I noticed the request by Getty Images to licence the image.I had read about the Getty Images partnership with Flickr, but this is the first time I have seen it realised on a Flickr Page. What immediately concerned me was that the apparent request, from Getty was not just to licence one or two images, but to acquire the rights to the whole of the Advocacy Project photostream collection; currently standing at 8,989 images, all with a Creative Commons licences.
If the licensing, for this superb collection of high quality images, was transferred to Getty it would be a sad loss to Flickr and its community. However, it would be an even greater loss to all who share an interest in education, culture and humanitarian issues around the world. It would deprive access to the collection and our ability to use and share the images and add to their substantial metadata and narratives. If you have not already come across these pictures, I would recommend taking some time to browse.
Subsequently, the images would no longer no longer show up on Flickr but re-appear on the Getty/Flickr [sic], page as thumbnails c/w small watermarked preview and shopping basket. Getty's terms clearly state that owners of the image must re-licence them as All Rights Reserved.
I think it is fine that Photographers are able to submit their images to Getty for possible licensing, (although I don’t think the terms are too favourable: 20%-30% of Getty's sale price - depending on model); or Getty trying to licence images with an All Rights Reserved status. That is one thing, but to trawl Flickr in order to harvest collections that have been made accessible to the public under a CC licence, is a predatory move which should be strongly resisted. It is also worth noting that a CC licence cannot be revoked, so if you have downloaded a CC licensed image, from Flickr, that has subsequently been acquired by Getty, you are still perfectly entitled to use that image under the terms of the original licence.I have sent a Flickrmail to the Advocacy Project outlining my concerns, and look forward to reading their thoughts. Obviously, Getty does offer payment therefore I am happy to make a contribution to the Advocacy Project fund for any images I use, (Indeed I already have done so). If we want to preserve our access to these and similar quality images then perhaps others might consider doing likewise.