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Flickr says all Creative Commons photos are protected from deletion, not just past uploads

Flickr announced today that all Creative Commons images will remain protected on its site – including those uploaded in the past and those that will be added in the future. The news follows Flickr’s November 2018 announcement where it had stated it wouldn’t delete Creative Commons photos already on its service, after switching over to a new business model which put an end to the free terabyte of storage in favor of a new subscription-based service.
There had been concern prior to Flickr’s statement in November that the photography site’s revamped business model would see works deleted from Creative Commons, as a result of its implementation.
That would have been a huge loss to the wider photography community and the web as a whole.
Creative Commons is a significant resource, as it makes creators’ works freely available through a variety of copyright licenses that respect how the owner wants them shared and/or attributed. Flickr, before being acquired by new owners SmugMug, had been a longtime Creative Commons partner, offering millions of photos under the CC license types on its site.
Though Flickr’s November decision to not delete the CC archive was a good step forward, it didn’t necessarily protect all the CC-licensed photos that would be uploaded to its site in the future. Instead, the company said only those CC photos uploaded prior to November 1, 2018 would be grandfathered in, so to speak.
At the time, CEO at Creative Commons, Ryan Merkley, expressed some concern about this decision. It wasn’t clear where future CC-licensed photos would end up.
Today, both organizations announce they’ve come to an agreement: all CC-licensed photos and public domain works will continue to be free on Flickr for anyone to upload and share. That’s a step further than simply protecting all the past uploads before the business model transition.
It means that Flickr has committed to continue to steward the Commons, as before.


Thank you to @Flickr for this commitment to protecting CC licensed works! An update from CEO @ryanmerkley https://t.co/h2yX7yaVZN
— Creative Commons (@creativecommons) March 8, 2019
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