Facts About Flickr Copyright Policies

Flickr is a social media website that specializes in photo sharing between its users. It is also used by bloggers to host images used on their sites. Flickr is free to sign up for and use; all you need is a yahoo account. By uploading images to Flickr, you are granting the site a non-exclusive, royalty free license. This means that you're agreeing to allow the site to display your images without paying any money to you, regardless of how much traffic is drawn to the page. You own the image and can put it on any other site you like. You may also delete the image at any time you'd like.

Creative Commons

In addition to this basic copyright protection, users may also choose to upload their images under a creative commons license. These are special licenses created in 2002 by Creative Commons, a U.S. non-profit corporation. There are four basic licenses that one can apply to an image under the Creative Commons. 


Licensee, any one who wishes to use the image, may copy, distribute and display the work. They can make derivatives of the work only if they give the author or licensor the credit. What this means is that you can download a photo off of the internet and use it any way you want as long as you give credit to the photographer or owner of that image. 

You might be wondering what is meant by derivative of the work. A derivative is when an original work is altered and a new work is created from it. For example, a photograph is taken into Photoshop and a mosaic effect is applied. This creates two completely different images, even though the mosaic is based on the photograph.  


A licensee may copy, distribute and display the work for non-commercial purposes. They may also make derivatives of the work for non-commercial purposes as well. This means that you cannot use these images in a promotion to make money.

No Derivative Works

A licensee may copy, distribute and display the work, but they cannot make any derivatives of it. This means that you cannot alter the image in anyway.


A licensee may distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the original image.


These four basic licenses can be combined in the following licenses:

  • Attribution alone
  • Attribution + Non-commercial
  • Attribution + No Derivatives
  • Attribution + ShareAlike
  • Attribution + Noncommercial + No Derivatives

Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike 

Flickr offers it's users a wide range of creative control over the copyright of their images. Ultimately, you own your own work, but you can share it with others and let them distribute your images under your own terms. 

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