Is there a Creative Commons license that would allow me to sell prints of other people photos on Flickr?
February 25, 2005 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Is there a Creative Commons license that would allow me to sell prints of other people photos on Flickr?

And how would sharealike work in a case like this
posted by rschroed to Law & Government (17 answers total)
Do you mean prints of other people's photos, or prints of your photos of other people?
posted by librarina at 7:00 PM on February 25, 2005

Sorry, other peoples photos.

Can I download a hi-res photo from Flickr and sell framed prints.
posted by rschroed at 7:02 PM on February 25, 2005

Unless they had a noncommercial, then yes, you could sell it. If it is an attribution license, you have to put their name on it though. Sharealike means that if you make a derivative work, such as a collage, you have to license that under a CC license as well.
posted by Nothing at 7:18 PM on February 25, 2005

Is a print of a digital photo a derivative work?
posted by rschroed at 7:23 PM on February 25, 2005

It seems you misunderstand licensing. If I make something, I choose the distribution license. If you want to use what I made, you don't get to pick another license, you have to work with the terms of the license I chose.

Your wording seems to indicate that you think you can use other's photos if you just choose the right license. That seems backwards. If no license is defined by the author, "All Rights Reserved" is assumed, those rights being the ones granted by copyright law.
posted by odinsdream at 7:27 PM on February 25, 2005

No, I get it. I'd be looking for photo under a certain license.

Obviously 'noncommercial' is out. But 'No Derivative Works' might still be ok if a print is a copy and not derivative work.

'Attribution' doesn't seem to matter here. And 'Share Alike' only applies to derivavtive works.

Maybe shouldn't of had that extra Sappro at dinner
posted by rschroed at 7:44 PM on February 25, 2005

Ah, apologies. I understand the question better now. A print would not be a derivative work, it would be a copy.
posted by odinsdream at 7:47 PM on February 25, 2005

The relevant page at CC. A print would be a verbatim copy. I'm not sure how attribution would work. You obviously would need to make it clear at the time of sale, but do you have to tag the actual print in some way?

I assume something without any license is completely off-limits.
posted by smackfu at 8:14 PM on February 25, 2005

So long as the licence doesn't contain Noncommercial, you're OK to sell someone else's pictures, assuming you abide by the other aspects of the licence - Attribution, Non-Derivative, etc.

In terms of attribution, you just have to make sure that the buyer is aware this isn't your work, and whose work it is. If, for instance, you're selling photographs, you can place the attribution on the back, so long as its clear.

As had been stated before, no CC license implies All Rights Reserved - you can't touch this without permission.
posted by benzo8 at 12:14 AM on February 26, 2005

Legalities aside, selling prints of someone else's pictures at a price any higher than your cost seems like a shallow business model. Are you facilitating a process from photographer to buyer that both sides have encouraged, or are you taking advantage of someone and pocketing the difference? If this is an above-the-board deal, why bring your question here? You should be asking the photographer. I don't want you selling pictures of my life, without telling me, to people who I don't know want them. Now, if Flickr had a 'prints sold' counter for every picture that would reflect anything you sold, that would be closer to fair. Sharing the difference with the photographer would be closer. Automate a process, always ask for permission, notify both sides of the deal about each other, keep track of what you do. Don't be a jerk.
posted by airguitar at 12:36 AM on February 26, 2005


1. Snark doesn't help anyone on Ask.MeFi
2. Check out - the question is specifically about works which their originators have already decided to release under a license which allows specifically what you think is so underhand and unfair.
posted by benzo8 at 12:49 AM on February 26, 2005

Are you facilitating a process from photographer to buyer that both sides have encouraged


if i have am using a license that allows other people to copy my work and sell it at a profit, and the terms of that license are clear and anyone can read them, i would be encouraging that activity.
posted by striatic at 1:13 AM on February 26, 2005

I say on my profile page that all my photos are public domain. You are therefore allowed to do whatever you want with them. That includes selling prints.
posted by krisjohn at 3:18 AM on February 26, 2005

Yeah, I mean, I'm thinking about this... It makes sense that if I choose a Creative Commons license that says 'do whatever you want with this', then doing whatever you want would include selling prints, that's fine. And nobody who didn't choose a CC license would have their pictures printed and sold, but... Flickr just seems different to me than a song or a paper that might get CCed. It's a community, it's also very amateur, people contribute what they have to be part of something bigger, these networks of networks, groups of friends and family; not to have their pictures printed and sold by someone they don't know.

Again, I take full credit for reading mal-intent into a question where there was none (that whole 'don't be a jerk' thing applies to me too), but really, Flickr has a very active set of Forums, it just seems odd to avoid asking the question there.
posted by airguitar at 3:44 AM on February 26, 2005

Fuck, nevermind what I said. This is exactly what Creative Common Licenses are for. Anyone who has taken the time to read through each type understands this, and by assigning such to their work they are asking you to do just what you are.

People need to consider that when they use a CC license, but I was more wrong in questioning your question than I thought you were in asking it. Mea culpa, mea culpa.
posted by airguitar at 4:33 AM on February 26, 2005

Actually, airguitar, I probably agree with your original statement more than you do now. Just selling other people's stuff without kicking a few bucks back or even telling them does seem a little shady. I'm not actively planning on doing this, just thinking out loud.

But I am suprised someone like hasn't already started to mine flickr for content.
posted by rschroed at 8:11 AM on February 26, 2005

But I am surprised someone like hasn't already started to mine flickr for content.

probably because there isn't that much CC content in the mix, and on top of that there isn't that much CC content that allows commercial use .. and then within this thin wedge it is questionable as to whether there is a lot of professional quality work.

however, if you look at the full CC spectrum on flickr, including non-commercial, there's a lot of great stuff.

but over time, even that thin wedge will become huge, so eventually 3rd parties will take an interest.
posted by striatic at 9:40 AM on February 26, 2005

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