Last week, Flickr announced some major changes to the way its free service will work under new owner SmugMug. It set a 1,000-picture limit for free accounts, replacing the previously offered 1TB of storage. Any accounts that are still over that limit on February 5th, 2019, will have their content deleted until theyre back below that number. This led to a looming question: what happens to Flickrs huge library of Creative Commons photos that are used by countless individuals and organizations around the world? In a blog post today, Flickr has clarified that those freely licensed photos will be safe, even under the new limits. Accounts with more than 1,000 photos or videos that are licensed with Creative Commons wont have that content deleted. That said, Flickr will be blocking future uploads to those accounts on January 8th — just like it will to other accounts that are over the 1,000-picture limit — unless you pay for a Pro account. This rule only applies to photos that were uploaded with a Creative Commons license before the deadline. Users hoping to skirt the upcoming 1,000-photo limit / purge of content coming in February by moving all of their content to an open Creative Commons license is out of luck. Flickr will also begin working with nonprofits to offer free hosting, something that new parent company SmugMug has already been doing. Organizations such as the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), 350.org, and Second Harvest are already using Flickr to share photos of the amazing work they do. And now well be working with them to ensure Pro isnt a cost they need to worry about, it says. The company has also set up a form for nonprofit organizations to apply for free Pro accounts, too. The company also notes that organizations that are part of the Flickr Commons program — like NASA, the National Park Service, the UK National Archives, and The British Library — will be unaffected by the new rules. As part of that program, participating organizations already had Pro accounts (or were given free Pro account from Flickr), so theyll be safe come January.
Flickr Commons images are safe as well. Last week, Flickr announced that it would be changing its free tier, allowing users to store just 1,000 photos and videos rather than providing them with 1TB of free storage as it had in the past. Those wanting unlimited storage would need to upgrade to its Pro plan. However, the company said those sticking with the free tier would need to reduce their stored photos and videos down to the 1,000 limit by February 5th, after which Flickr would begin deleting items until their account was down to 1,000. Now, the company is clarifying what this means for Flickr Commons and Creative Commons users. Flickr Commons hosts photos from institutions and government agencies like The Smithsonian and NASA, and their content often includes historical images whose copyrights have expired or images that are in the public domain. Flickr says those organizations either already had Pro accounts or have now been given a free Pro account. Therefore, their photos and videos are safe and won't be deleted by Flickr. The company also won't be deleting content with Creative Commons licenses. Flickr explains that the Creative Commons organization has helped individual photographers and groups license their work for use by others, and photos and videos uploaded under a Creative Commons license before November 1st, 2018 won't be deleted even if users are over their 1,000 limit. However, while content won't be deleted, those users won't be able to upload more content after January 8th, 2019 until they dip below the 1,000 limit or upgrade to a Pro account. Additionally, nonprofit organizations can fill out a form to request a free Pro account. Flickr will notify those that apply of their status by January 8th.