Yahoo-owned image hosting website, Flickr, has issued an apology for using prints of images licensed under Creative Commons (CC) in its recently launched Wall Art paint service. The month-old service allowed people to purchase canvas or wood prints for images that were featured in Flicker’s CC gallery.
Yahoo had initially planned to retain all the earnings from the sales of CC images, while giving a 52% cut to the photographers of images not covered by CC. The wall art paint service did not violate any of the CC license terms. However, it stirred up controversy when a few CC photographers complained that Flickr was making close to US$ 49 per print without compensating the photographers who had shared the photos in the first place; photographers who felt that the license terms were applicable for online use and could not be extended to physical prints.
Responding to growing criticism, Flickr has now decided to scrap the entire range of CC licensed photos from Flickr Wall Art and is planning to issue refunds for all sales made with CC images. It however, does not plan to abandon the Wall Art and will continue to take orders from users for prints from personal images and those shared by “licensed artists”.
In a message posted on Flickr blog, Bernardo Hernandez, Vice President of Flickr apologized saying, “We hear and understand your concerns, and we always want to ensure that we’re acting within the spirit with which the community has contributed”.
He further added, “Given the varied reactions, as a first step, we’ve decided to remove the pool of Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr Wall Art, effective immediately. We’ll also be refunding all sales of Creative Commons-licensed images made to date through this service. Subsequently, we’ll work closely with Creative Commons to come back with programs that align better with our community values”.
This move will help Flickr appease CC photographers and create goodwill in the market as it attempts to stand out against its competitor photo-sharing sites and apps that have set in and even gone beyond it in terms of growth and popularity.