My Beef with Flickr

Update: Boing Boing has taken notice.

Update2: Clarification added below.

I noticed a while ago that when I searched for photos using tags on flickr, that my photos weren’t showing. After checking through the Flickr faqs I discovered that this is because I have been marked as ‘NIPSA’ [Not in Public Site Areas] which means that my account is more or less hidden to people searching flickr for photos. I emailed Flickr support asking why, and was told it was because i’d been uploadng my drawings:

Flickr is a photo-sharing website, so uploading non-photos will flag your account as NIPSA.

IMHO, this sucks. I understand that Flickr was developed as a photo sharing website, but I don’t think the content should be restricted to that now that it has evolved into a massive community based image library. There’s much more heart and soul [and dare I say, artistic merit] in my drawings than any of my half assed happy snaps.

It seems that this has sparked a bit of an interweb storm in a teacup.

On one side are the photographers [and flickr] who say that flickr is and should remain for photos only, and that us dirty illustrators should bugger off to Deviantart. On the other side, are people like me, who think that flickr is being overly restrictive and should evolve to suit it’s user’s needs.

First off, let me say that I <3 flickr. If flickr was a girl, I’d marry her. I’ve spent more time on flickr than any other intarwebsite since I signed up a year ago. I work on the internets, so I can really appreciate the top notch service that they provide. I respect their attitude towards their customers and have been surprised by their generosity at every turn. However, this whole thing just seems very unflickrish. I really expected them to be more open minded. To blanket ban my entire photostream seems rather unfair.

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56 Responses to My Beef with Flickr

  1. live wire says:

    Flickr sucks.

    They delete PRO account at the whim of staff members.

    Please don’t create PRO account on flickr, you can be deleted the next day and not given a word for reason.

  2. cat says:

    I just deleted my account with Flickr because they censored my protest-art (you can see it on my blog). They claimed I was harassing and abusing other members by having it posted.

    My protest-art has the words “Summertownsun sucks”. I put this artwork up in protest of Summertownsun complaining that i was infringing on their copyrighted work. They said I was posting images that they own. So flickr removed the images. But the images are actually in the public domain. So I protested Summertownsun’s actions by creating a piece of artwork and posting it on Flickr.

    Then Flickr, in all its controlling, tightwad glory, removed that image too, and sent me an email which said, ”

    Hello, dazzlecat!

 Hi dazzlecat, 

In joining Flickr, you agreed to abide by the Terms of
 Service and Community Guidelines. Specifically, you must 
not abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate 
other Flickr members: 
. We’ve removed the content, “SummertownSun Publishing
Sucks!”, from your photostream. Please note that similar
 activity may result in the termination of your account
 without warning.




    So what really happened here? The simple fact is that Flickr censored my artwork!!!

    I sent out an email to all my contacts on Flickr letting them know I was deleting my account and why. Now I’m going to have to make another piece of protest-art called Flickr Sucks!

  3. James says:

    Someone here mentioning drawings and all that crap. This is no different than when someone says a photographer is not an artist. It doesn’t matter if you have a drawing or a photograph, unless it’s copyright infringement, they should mess with what you post. The biggest BS thing I have with flickr is that I loved it, but now that you “have” to have a Yahoo account, I closed my account and refuse to give them the time of day, not even to browse someone else’s work.

    Yahoo is to the internet, what Microsoft is to computers… Bloat.

  4. James says:

    they shouldn’t* mess with what you post.

    Sorry, typo

  5. I’m currently on my second Flickr account in 3 months. The first one was deleted without warning because I was putting links in my Photostream to my blog and stating that I had high resolution stock images for sale there. Lesson learned about commercial use of Flickr.

    This account I have been very careful to not make any commercial reference whatsoever in my Photostream or anywhere else on Flickr. I’m clean as a whistle there.

    Today I discovered that my account is “safe” and “NIPSA”. Sigh. I guess this is because about 30% of my images are textures that I created myself in Photoshop. In other words they are not “photos” but more “illustrations”. Making my content not appear in searches is so silly.

    I was so excited about Flickr for awhile there…DeviantArt grew old because there are so many kids there and I have enjoyed interacting with other adults on Flickr.

    I can understand moderating content such as porn but abstract Photoshop textures?

  6. Jeremy says:

    I signed up for a pro flickr account and deleted after 3 weeks because someone probalby reported me. I had a lot of pictures of women but not any nude ones. My account was flagged unsafe and all my pictures were NIPSA since NIPSA is pretty much your pictures are gone in the public viewing area I just said heck with it and cancelled my flickr account. I was really excited about flickr when I signed up. I now don’t think its worth it. You have to go through the hassles of proving your pictures are safe for your account to be flagged as safe viewing. I guess people really do moniter you on the internet because all of a sudden my flickr account was flagged as unsafe and the pictures being taking off. I guess there are some people who might see pictures they don’t agree with and they report you or flag your account. So much for it happening in a country like the Grand United States of America. Being treated this way for a service I paid for on flickr by flickr flagging your account and putting your pictures in NIPSA. I guess flickr can do what they want to their customers or subscribers with no explanation.

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