Getty Images and Flickr kill partnership after five years


posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM EDT


For half a decade, Flickr users have had the option to license their images through Getty Image's Flickr Collection. Partly curated and partly open to submission, it allowed photographers a chance to monetize the photos they'd already uploaded, without much extra work. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, Getty has contacted its Flickr users to tell them the partnership is ending, and what was once the Flickr Collection is being reborn as a new collection called "Moment".

According to DPReview, the letter (reproduced in full below) re-assures users that their status with Getty has not changed, and that if they want to keep contributing to Getty they can submit more images through a more standard process, rather than directly through Flickr.

It's not immediately clear what was the cause for the break in the relationship, and news comes just days after Getty announced it would allow free embeds of its images (which Flickr has supported for some time).

One of the theories floating around is that this might be the first sign of Flickr moving into image licensing itself, which could potentially be a revenue earner for the popular site. However, photo licensing programs often have a tricky balancing act to pull, especially with giving photographers enough of a cut that they don't feel like their hard earned photography is earning them just pennies.

Here's the contents of the letter in full:

Flickr Partnership Ends, Getty Images' Commitment to Contributors Continues

Today we are announcing that we provided notice to terminate our existing agreement with Flickr. Our original agreement reached its end, and while we continue to be open to working with Yahoo!/Flickr, we have not agreed to a new agreement at this time.

Your status as a contributor to Getty Images is unchanged by this news. Your current agreement with Getty Images remains the same and agreements will NOT be terminated by us as a result of this change, no matter how few images you have on

For the last 5 years we’ve been very proud to provide a global platform for the work of Flickr artists, celebrating their originality and talent with our customers around the world. Those of us who are directly involved with the Flickr collection have thoroughly enjoyed and been inspired by our experience working within the Flickr community. Built to represent the best in authentic, spontaneous photography selected through social sharing, Getty Image’s Flickr collection has grown to be a tremendous success. 

We have never been more committed than we are now to expanding on what we’ve started together.

What Will Change? Here are some highlights - with details to follow in the coming days and weeks:

  • Welcome to Moment: The Flickr Collection will form the basis of a new house collection called Moment.
  • Moment Mobile: Our new Moment-Mobile App provides another way for you to participate by submitting images shot on your mobile device. All Flickr collection contributors will be invited. (iOs only for now-Andriod to come). We are very pleased with the launch and early results from our Moment App, which is now being used by 3,500 contributors from 100 countries who have so far have submitted more than 30,000 images through the app. 
  • Curators: Flickr curators will continue and expand their role in identifying the best social content from a wider range of sources which, alongside our Moment App, will further grow our Moment collections.
  • The Upload Portal you are already familiar with will be updated to accommodate a slightly different workflow (see below) but your log-in will remain the same.
  • You will be in control. Since we will not be using the systems built for the Flickr partnership, we will no longer be searching and browsing through photostreams or Artist Picks looking for images and inviting them. Instead, you will be using the same procedure as all our other Getty and iStock contributors and submitting full-sized, captioned and released images to us for review and selection.
  • Support: Communication and daily guidance will continue via our Getty Images Contributor Community website and forum. We will be sending out a welcome e-mail containing the URL and your log-in credentials. These emails will begin shortly and continue over the next few weeks until everyone is covered.
  • Creative Research: You will have access to our proprietary research briefs on an ongoing basis.
  • Range of Products: You will have access to be reviewed for submissions to our other collections where appropriate including editorial, video, and -- our new platform for wall décor, print sales, and more.

What should you do?

Please watch for more news and information in our Getty Images Contributors Group on Flickr and watch for important emails.

Check your Contact information! Please make sure the e-mail address and other contact information we have for you is up to date so we can include you in our communications.  You can do this by logging in to the Upload Portal [...] and clicking on 'Update your profile' in the 'Account Management' section.

Thanks you for all of your wonderful images and support over the past five years! We look forward to moving ahead with Moment, and with each and every one of you.

The Getty Images Creative Team