Flickr Firestorm – Acts I and II

The folks at Flickr have put the user community in an uproar not once this week, but twice.

First, Flickr mandated users to sign in using Yahoo accounts. This created a 21+ page revolt on Flickr, let alone the 4,400+ posts in the blogosphere.

Personally, I hate having to create a Yahoo login just to access a service for which I pay Flickr. It's an annoyance for no good reason, as Flickr users aren't getting any extra features/benefits for using Yahoo logins… so what's the point?!

To their credit, Flickr is now offering Pro users a per-day refund if the Yahoo login is too much to bear.

Secondly, Yahoo has begun using photos from Flickr users on the Yahoo Wii homepage without their consent, and in violation of the assigned Creative Commons license. Yahoo & Flickr, in their infinite wisdom, have chosen to ignore the noncommercial tags on photos and are showing "wii" tagged photos on a commercial page.

Of the two, I think the second is a much more egregious breach of the users rights. Flickr was one of the first to implement Creative Commons protections. Now all that is for naught.

After another user mutiny, Yahoo is revising the pages and says that they will honor the CC. We'll see I guess – that's two strikes on Yahoo/Flickr already this week.

I'm a little disgusted at it all really. Flickr should know better.

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2 thoughts on “Flickr Firestorm – Acts I and II”

  1. I didn't, and still don't, see what the big deal is about the user switch-over. I think the outrage is way overblown. I mean, honestly, it takes a few minutes to sign up for a yahoo account… you don't have to use it for anything else… and then it's done. If you happen to have one already, the process of switching takes 30 seconds. After that you don't notice the difference. You keep your flickrname, your pictures are the same, everything is fine.

    I think the internet is developing an "indie" crowd… they like these hip new servies until they sell out to "The Man" — scroll through that comment thread. It seems like every fifth post is "I don't trust yahoo!" Umm… hello? Yahoo bought Flickr over a year ago, if you didn't trust them, you should've gotten out then.

    (and I'm not 100% sure about this, but I can almost guarantee that what flickr was doing was not a technical violation of CC — you likely signed away all rights to the pictures by agreeing to the Flickr TOS. That's how most websites work. But with this one I still understand why people are upset, unlike the username thing.)

  2. I agree on part one, but part two is way to close to the line. So close that it should have set off the "should we do this?" alarms.

    The "indie" crowd is that way with everything. Your early adopters always abandon a product when it becomes too mainstream – seeking out the next "it". Look at Firefox and the subsequent migrations to Mozilla branches.

    Now, you could color me guilty as charged for my Camino support, I suppose, but Camino is a native app & three times faster. In that regard, maybe I prefer "better" to hip, but I digress.

    The argument for the legal side is only this: Yahoo only used Flickr thumbnails to link, not the full submitted images. But still – several of the photos had noncommercial, no-attribution… totally bogus use, IMHO.

    This was so easy for Yahoo to avoid. Just show a picture of Mario with a damn camera, say "Wii Pictures at Flickr", splash a Flickr logo, and link to the public Wii tag.

    Instead, they just did it. There's an old saying about look before you leap. Yahoo would be wise to honor it.

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