This seems like a good development for the photography biz:

Starting today in the Flickrverse, Flickr members and visitors can work with each other through a new program with Getty Images called “Request to License”. We’ve built this program on the success of our launch of the Flickr Collection on Getty Images just over one year ago.

So, how does it work? Under the Additional Information heading on your public photo pages you’ll see a “Want to license” link. Only you see this link. Visitors to your photos won’t.


Clicking the link will take you to your settings page where you can decide if you’d like to join the “Request to License” program. Choose the option that best suits your needs and “Save” to remove the “Want to license” notice from your page. If you join, visitors to your public photo pages will see a Request to License link.


I suppose, if you are holding out hope for some kind of resurgence in the stock photography business it looks like they’ve opened the floodgates for everyone, but the reality is one click licensing for content (license stream, picscout) already exists and is considered a holy grail for companies that can leverage millions of small sales into large profits for them. Giving people the option to buy instead of steal or CC license images is a good thing. It’s only a bad thing if you’re a Flickr photographer who thinks selling images to Getty actually leads somewhere (see BBC Story).

Now when companies go trolling for images on Flickr there’s the possibility that they will run into a real license for something they want to use. For most major advertising companies the liability is too great to dip into the found photo pool so this is not a huge chunk of the pro business we’re talking about.

Bohemian agrees.

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  1. 70% commission ?

  2. Is this even a serious opportunity? With a 70% commission, the chances of making any real money this way seems hopeless. And while the opportunity to pay a license may work in some cases, the people who regularly steal images from Flickr probably won’t be deterred. I suppose if someone stumbled upon an image they liked and wanted to license it this system provides a way for making it happen. But you have to wonder how many times an image will be flat-out stolen before someone actually agrees to pay for a license? It seem like a high-risk, low-reward venture.

    • @Tom, it’s actually pretty low-risk, because it’s a feature, not a venture. I doubt Getty or Flickr are expecting massive sales out of it, and I’d bet they’ve set expectations accordingly. The goal is to make it possible for someone to buy what they might otherwise steal. If they continue the partnership with a watermarking / enforcement engine, then that’s more powerful.

      For an individual photographer, it’s not a serious opportunity. It’s just the chance to make money where there was really no chance before, without any extra effort. And that’s fine. It is what it is.

      • @Taylor Davidson,

        Okay point taken. But you have to post images to Flickr to use the feature. And many of the people who regularly steal images from Flickr will probably continue to do so. I agree with you that a watermarking/enforcement engine would make this a lot better.

        Right now, I think it’s risky to post anything good to Flickr because there is a good chance it will be misappropriated.

        • @Tom, True. But this isn’t intended for any photographer that is trying to evaluate which stock agency to use to distribute their images.

          It’s for the photographer that already uses Flickr and is now a little happier that they *might* make a little money. And in the future, with the right partnership, perhaps they’ll be able to enforce the misappropriation. It’s a necessary step towards creating a larger marketplace. But just a small step.

          And certainly nothing any photographer interested in selling stock licenses should really care about, except for the fact that it only continues the price pressure.

          • i see the value to the professional photographer, not in the potential revenue stream, but in the educational impact on the general consumer/flickr user (assuming the feature is prominent and noticed by those users)

            i think photographers are obsessed with people stealing their images, when what’s really hurting is people giving them away for free… and yes, there is a difference.

            if this converts some flickr users from cc’ing their work to licensing it, simply by demonstrating that the copyright has value, that’s something

            the worst thing professional photographers can do, imho, is start putting stuff on flickr and letting getty license it for peanuts, while taking 70%

  3. The 70% commission is the standard royalty rate for all of their contributors I believe. I was one of the first beta testers for the Flickr-Getty partnership and I have to say, 30% of something is better than the larger percentage of ZERO I was getting with two other well known agencies. I don’t really shoot anything specifically for stock, but I do get a check every month for the small amount of images I have with them.

    What I want to know is if someone steals an image that is available for license on Flickr, will Getty go to bat for you to fight the infringement like they would if someone ripped an image from their normal collection?

  4. This is an interesting development thanks for pointing it out. I’ll have to check my Flickr account to find out more…

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