May 23, 2013
Not happy with Flickr . . .
Regarding flickr, I've had a handful of people kind of admonish me for my little protest. Cool. I'm open to being admonished. I put it out there so I can take the heat. But, I have another way to explain my protest for many of their recent changes.
Most of us lock the doors to our house when we leave, even if we rent our house or apartment and don't own it. I bet almost all of you lock your doors or lock your car. Yes, if a thief wants to get in our house or car and steal our stuff, they can find a way in around your locked doors. We live in the illusion that our stuff is safe and are comforted by locking the doors.
What flickr has done with it's new slideshow, the new layout that leaves image credits and copyright info off the screen unless the viewer clicks on the picture and scrolls down below the screen to read it, and their new resolution quality is like someone, even a landlord, replacing your old doors with paper ones without asking, virtually overnight. They made it that much easier to break in. So for each of us, it is a personal decision whether to be okay with paper doors because we are okay with living outside the illusion, or move somewhere with something that at least feels a little stronger, like flickr used to.
Most of us would be a bit distressed if our car was stolen (because we need it to get to work and go to the grocery and the doctor, etc. and it cost us a lot of money) or our jewelry (because it has financial and emotional value to us). Imagine it being stolen every few weeks. Could you afford to keep buying new ones? Piracy culprits and misinformed would-be-artists that think everything is up for grabs steal millions of dollars worth of images from artists, photographers, and designers every year for sure, maybe every few months, I don't know. It affects someone's bottom line, someone's ability to earn a living - I'm sure I've had several cars' worth and wedding rings' worth of images stolen from me over the years. But I limp along. My concern is not with just my own artwork, but my customers' artwork and their possible use of my images in their work being posted on Flickr. So, no, I don't feel compelled to condone, let alone support, be okay with, use, or pay for a service like Flickr that just made it easier to steal from not just me, but the 100's of working artists, photographers and designers I know (whether or not they are my customers) and the 1000's that I don't.
Sites like Flickr and Tumblr make money on the artsists' backs and disregard their rights or do very little, if anything, to protect and promote the artists that provide the content they need to be in business. The one thing Pinterest does right is to encourage direct linking to the artist/creator. That will likely be my new "flickr" - the audience is bigger anyway. (By the way, I try very hard to not pin or repin items on Pinterest that come from Tumblr since Tumblr does not link to the original artist and often leaves off the artist information entirely.)
I renewed my Pro Account in January. I have paid for an account there for the last 6 years. I have sent countless customers to them. Flickr was one thing when many of us started accounts there and they just became something else overnight. They had every right to do so. I have every right to say I don't like it. You have every right to be okay with it and think I'm a fool. Maybe I will find a new career. Maybe I will evolve to think differently tomorrow or next year. But for now, this is where I am.