Getty Images, one of the stock photography powerhouses, has switched on a program by which selected Flickr photographers can license their images to paying customers.
In earlier days of the microstock business, in which photographers license images over the Internet for relatively low prices through sites including Getty's iStockphoto, there was speculation Flickr might jump into the market. After all, there's plenty of good material, and it's often already tagged for easier categorization.
One complication, though: many photographers at Flickr offer their images under Creative Commons licenses that permit copying and redistribution of the photos.
According to the Flickr help section on the Getty program, Yahoo switches Creative Commons-licensed photos to all rights reserved if they're submitted to Getty:
Can I sell my Creative Commons-licensed content?
There is a chance one of your Creative Commons-licensed photos may catch the eye of a perceptive Getty Images editor. You are welcome to upload these photos into the Flickr collection on Getty Images, but you are contractually obliged to reserve all rights to sale for your work sold via Getty Images. If you proceed with your submission, switching your license to All Rights Reserved (on Flickr) will happen automatically.
If you're not cool with that, that's totally cool. It just means that particular photo will need to stay out of the Flickr collection on Getty Images.
In response, a Getty Images representative said, "We would never expect anyone to revoke a license. We know that your image is being used with your permission by those who licensed it through CC (Creative Commons), which is why we are placing CC images we choose in RF (royalty-free licensing) only. We couldn't place it in RM (rights-managed) because rights management would not be possible. We came to this so as not to exclude inviting CC images."