Flickr Adds Pinterest Restrictions to Better Reflect Users’ Sharing Preferences (See Update)

UPDATE: When I wrote this story I tested Flickr’s behavior on how a default account is set up. In my test image it appeared that this image was coded by default as “all rights reserved” with sharing disabled and I could not pin it. Based on this behavior by Flickr, I assumed that all default photos (the majority on Flickr) could not be pinned. In actuality the fact that this account was set up with the “all rights reserved” “no sharing” options default may have been an error in the default settings on flickr. I’m now told by Flickr that the default setting actually *should* be all rights reserved sharing enabled.

What this means is that the only photos that are being restricted from Pinterest are a very small number of photos where users have consciously chosen to restrict their sharing elsewhere on the web. This is actually a pretty smart thing to do to give these users more control over their flickr photos. The vast majority of all rights reserved images on flickr then are still very much able to be shared to Pinterest. Aaron Hockley has a good rundown on the situation here.

Original article corrected:
Flickr apparently disabled the ability to post Flickr photos to Pinterest when the photo is uploaded using the all rights reserved license that Flickr defaults to when a user has opted not to share their images outside of flickr in their flickr settings.

1. This limitation is super easy to get around. Just install Dan Pupius’ mega-excellent FitrFlickr extension. Now on a flickr images’ main photo page under every photo will be direct links to the various sized copies of the images that flickr stores. Here you can easily just go to where the photo is stored directly and share that version of the image circumventing flickr’s code that has been put in place.

2. If you’ve disabled sharing in the past but now want people to be able to share them on Pinterest, just go to your sharing options and turn the default no to “yes, that would be lovely.”

3. One of the biggest things that this does is helps to make sure that flickr’s underground porn world stays underground. The “no pin” tag has been put on all non-safe, non-public photos on Flickr non matter what settings you’ve put on your photostream.

You can of course still post non-safe, non-public photos with the hack that I described in item 1. For example. Flickr has coded this photo that I took of a painting at the Chicago Art Institute as naughty (rolls eyes) — so if you try to pin it you can’t. But if you go to where flickr actually stores the image you can pin it from there just fine. And here it is, a super naughty non-safe flickr photo live living and breathing on Pinterest. 🙂

4. Flickr Help Forum thread on the topic here.

As far as Pinterest goes generally speaking, I like it. I blogged about it the other day here. My friend Trey Ratcliff blogged about it the other day as well here. Alot of photographers are pretty wound up about it though. The most recent bugaboo is that Pinterest strips your metadata when a photo is uploaded there. This upsets alot of people because they embed things like their copyright in the metadata on their photos. Thanks for the heads up on the metadata thing Gary!

My view in general on Pinterest is that many photographers are overreacting about it. Pinterest is not going to steal your photos and sell them as stock photography no matter what mumbo jumbo you might come up with on their TOU. Pinterest users are really not even the type to buy your photos. They’re basically a bunch girls/women who like to scrapbook stuff (and Trey Ratcliff). It’s no different than back in the olden days when bored housewives would cut pictures out of Good Housekeeping magazine and put them in shoe boxes to show them to their girlfriends later — or some girl printing up a photo of Justin Bieber from the internet to hang up in her locker at school. [no chauvinism meant or intended by describing Pinterest as a largely female user base with my flowery language in this part. It’s a cool site for men and women both]

Oh, and if you want to follow me on Pinterst, you can find me here.

Update: I’d like to emphasize that this change only affects the *Default* all rights reserved photos uploaded to flickr. I put default in my headline specifically to try to emphasize that this applied to default all rights reserved photos, not every all rights reserved photo on Flickr. In point #2 I show users who are using all rights reserved licenses with the original default how they can actually use the settings on flickr to change the default no share option and control how their photos are shared or not with that setting.

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  1. Aaron says:

    No, that’s not what Flickr did at all. VentureBeat started propagating this incorrect headline late last night.

    Flickr didn’t disable pinning based on license status (All Rights Reserved, etc). Flickr disabled pinning based on the photographer’s sharing settings. If you read Flickr’s actual statement (or look at the help thread), you’ll see it’s not based on the license.

    If the photographer has set the photos to be public & sharable (regardless of license) they can be pinned. If the photographer has restricted sharing (regardless of license), Flickr attempts to block pinning.

    I wrote a bit more about this on my site after seeing the incorrect VentureBeat article:

  2. Markus says:

    Aaron – You are correct and I agree that “Flickr Adds Pinterest Restrictions to Better Reflect Users’ Sharing Preferences” does not sound as sensational as an incorrect headline for an “exclusive” story.

    Our goal as a photo sharing site is to encourage sharing, but at the same time, we want to provide our members that want to opt-out with the right tools and options.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    Aaron, well they did sort of. If you’ll notice my headline reads “Flickr Disables Posting Default All Rights Reserved Photos to Pinterest”

    When someone opens a flickr account by default all photos are licensed all rights reserved with sharing options turned off. I bet that 95% of the users never change those default options (although Markus could probably provide much more accurate insight on what that number really looks like). So effectively the vast majority of all rights reseverd photos on flickr would be disabled.

    Markus, I’m not sure that headline “Flickr Adds Pinterest Restrictions to Better Reflect Users’ Sharing Preferences” is really the right one either. It sort of assumes that most users prefer the default preference that is given to them when they sign up. I bet most users haven’t even thought about it and I bet that a very large number of flickr users whose photos cannot now be pinned would care less if people pinned their stuff.

    Maybe another headline could be: “Flickr Adds Pinterest Restrictions to Better Reflect Flickr’s Default Sharing Preference”

    I think the fact is though that there is a very vocal minority of flickr users who are quite particular about how their stuff is shared on the web and this move will appeal to that small demographic.

    If this was really about providing members who want to opt-out the right tools then the default sharing option would be turned on.

    it’s really not a big deal one way or the other though — especially from a user’s perspective. It’s super easy to turn sharing on/off via the settings and for users that care it’s now a choice. Bigger picture it probably hurts flickr traffic but scores points with the copyright maximalists.

  4. Nicole says:

    Interesting article, I like using pinterest and I like getting views coming from pinterest the only issue I have is if one of my images is all over pinterest and then Getty images request to license it, how do I go about removing it? It’s not going to be an exclusive licence if it is then all over pinterest.

  5. Thomas Hawk says:

    Nicole, you can’t control that. Sharing options on Flickr are not granular. You can’t apply them to each photo individually (it might be kind of cool if you could though). You have to apply them universally to your entire stream. So if you have a Getty Image and you have sharing turned on then people will still be able to post that image to Pinterest.

    I doubt Getty really cares though.

    I’ve never heard of Getty going after a single case of non-commercial infringement regardless of what our agreement with them states. And you are not the one pinning it, someone else is. I think Getty’s really more concerned with people using our/their images commercially in which case they do go after that use and try to secure payment after the fact and in fact share any recoveries with their photographers.

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    note my update in the post. The default setting on flickr images should be “all rights reserved” “sharing option enabled.” I did a test image that was not defaulted to these settings but this may have been a recent error with how default accounts are set up on Flickr which actually changes what went on here quite a bit.

  7. Thomas Hawk says:

    Aaron, you are actually very much spot on with your article. I incorrectly assumed flickr’s default behavior based on a test image I uploaded that was not defaulted as it should have been. The vast majority of all rights reserved photos can in fact be pinned and it’s only the handful where people have purposely opted out of sharing that cannot.

  8. Esther Reyes says:

    Agree with and appreciate your strong opinions most of the time. But, c’mon. You could have left out the “flowery language” and made the same point without being douchey.

    Maybe Pinterest’s target market will continue to be “just a bunch of girls/women who like to scrapbook stuff”, but maybe not. You’re on Pinterest, so assuming that you’re not just looking to appeal to Justin Bieber fans; you’re waiting to see, too.

  9. Anne Durand says:

    I have this problem to Pin to Pinterest from PhotoExtract, Picasa, or Google+ whereas it was working fine before. If you have any tips on those, feel free to share.

  10. gageflue says:

    I outstandingly agreed with oNothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.o