Flickr, photos, giving or selling?

Jonny Baker asks, do you give away or sell your flickr photos when asked? and cites a very helpful post about the issue by Thomas Hawk before writing about the Flickr/Getty tie up which I mentioned here in July.

I left a comment, but would like to repeat it here. If you want to join the conversation it would be worth checking Jonny's blog for the latest comments.

I've given permission for some of my photos to be used by others and wouldn't mind selling images to people who should be paying. However, I have some big concerns over the Getty / Flickr development.

I think the main one is that the aims of Flickr (basically creating a community of people who love photography and want to share it with others) seem to be completely at odds with the aims of Getty (to become the dominant leader in stock imagery). Flickr's own terms and conditions state that use should be non-commercial:
"Don’t use Flickr for commercial purposes. Flickr is for personal use only. If we find you selling products, services, or yourself through your photostream, we will terminate your account."

Flickr have allowed one company exclusive access to Flickr photographers on a commercial basis, which feels to me like an attempt to dominate a market. Of course, this is now a done deal between Flickr and Getty, but my suspicion is that Getty will be the clear winner. I'm sure that many photographers will gladly sign over commercial rights to their photos and, of course, it's very flattering to be invited to contribute to what is the acknowledged front runner in stock photography, but there are others operating in this field with different and often better terms.

When this was announced back in July I found this from the Photoshelter blog. Photoshelter is an alternative stock licensing company, so they obviously have an interest, but their article provides an alternative view from the other side of the Getty/Flickr tie-up.

Perhaps if Getty ask about any of my photos I'll take that as an endorsement and then offer them to a company I feel more comfortable with!

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