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Friday, February 20, 2009

Flickr Needs to Update Creative Commons Support

I've manually gone in and custom coded the way I want my flickr photos posted to my blog. I've added the Creative Commons license. Creative Commons is a cool way to allow people to share your work.

From the Creative Commons site:
Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.

We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.
Flickr should automaticaly post the photo and license information for everyone's photo when their photo is shared on another site.

They don't do this.

Note: Flickr makes it easy to share photos with the 'Blog This' and 'Share This' links on each photo's page.

You Can Modify Your Own 'Blog This' Settings
Flickr allows you to modify the photo caption on your own photos. I modified mine to look like the caption above.

When you click on blog this from your own flickr account, this modified caption gets posted to your blog.

Creative Commons
Over on the creative commons site, you can choose a license, and get custom code genereated that you can use.

Here's the code that was generated for this photo:
Creative Commons License
Stata Watercolor by Steve Garfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
I'm thinking about combining the two.

Flickr Should Suport Creative Common for BLOG THIS and SHARE THIS
The larger question though is why doesn't Flickr support the creative commons code when you use 'blog this' or 'share this/embed' from someone else's photo?

That's when it's most needed.

Here's a photo I grabbed from kk+ by clicking Share This, then clicking embed:


Obviously flickr knows the Creative Commons license already. Why can't they generate the license along with the attribution to the photographer something like this:

IMG_9100 by kk+, on Flickr CC BY-NC-SA

Flickr Needs to Update Thier Creative Commons Licenses
One more thing, this license is old. There's a new one flickr should be using.

"A new version of this license is available. You should use it for new works, and you may want to relicense existing works under it. No works are automatically put under the new license, however."

Over on the Flickr Ideas message board updating creative commons is being discussed. I asked for an update.

I'm also talking with Creative Commons about this.


  1. Steve, that's a cracking idea - you're absolutely right. Flickr should do this, though, not just for individuals' photos, but especially so for the Arts and Culture institutions who participate in The Flickr Commons.

    I'm a huge fan of Flickr myself:

  2. Anonymous9:57 AM

    Perhaps someone will create a nifty widget for that but I also think we are a little stuffy about our perceived rights to everything.

    The people that plaster big ugly watermarks over their art don't stay on my radar for long and the people who upload tiny images for fear that someone will print off the big ones don't get much return traffic from me either.

    With in-browser image recognition software like TinEye building up steam, attribution will soon be taken care of in a less obvious way anyway. (if you uploaded the big version of the picture first the chances are that you can proove it's yours, and if you have dozens of similar pictures then it's obvious that it is yours etc).

    I think we should lighten up on things like this as people are going to take and modify and get away with doing that to anything on their screen regardless of a creative commons license.

  3. @Darren TinEye looks iteresting

    You are right about people being able to do anything they want with images oce they are put up on the internet, but for those of us who want to follow the license terms of Creative Commos, why not just make it easier for everyone and not just content owners.

    It makes so much sense to me. I've written about this before, talked to flickr and creative commons, but no one has made the changes. Maybe this time they will.

    I hope so.