Flickr offers new public domain licensing in wake of SpaceX photo

November 25, 2016 – 01:47 pm


On Monday afternoon, Yahoo's photo-sharing platform Flickr announced that it would add public domain and CC-Zero licensing options for users who want to share their work freely with the public. Both options allow others to reuse photos licensed in that manner in any way they wish.

In a blog post yesterday, Flickr said that Elon Musk's private space flight company, SpaceX, was one of the first accounts to change the licensing on its photos.

Musk put hundreds of SpaceX photos up on Flickr last week, initially releasing them under a Creative Commons license, which does leave some restrictions on reuse of the photos (commercial use is not permitted, for example). But when pressed by Twitter followers, Musk agreed to put his company's photos in the public domain, free for all to use. Still, on Flickr's platform, Musk had to list his photos as CC-BY, which allows for any type of reuse as long as attribution is maintained, because a less-restrictive option was not available.

Flickr did not say directly whether Musk's dilemma was the impetus for adding the new categories of licensing.

“Many members of our community want to be able to upload images that are no longer protected by copyright and correctly tag them as being in the Public Domain, or they want to release their copyright entirely under CC0, ” Flickr wrote in its blog post. The company notes that it has used the Creative Commons license scheme since 2004.


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