Could The Post website use Flickr?

I have said before that the Birmingham Flickr group is a wonderful thing, and I know that others appreciate it too.(thanks CiB for the link).

There are so many fantastic pictures of Brum on Flickr, I would like to see the new Birmingham Post website showing and linking to them. It would certainly help showcase the talent we have in the city.

Indeed, it is something that was suggested when I asked for ideas for the new site.

But not everyone in the Birmingham Flickr community is going to want The Birmingham Post publishing their picture on our website. We wouldn’t have the right to do so anyway, unless we contacted the photographer first to get express permission, or they had relinquished all their IP rights (which is very rare).

So, what could be the solution? Pete Ashton suggests that The Post creates it’s own Flickr group, which people submit Birmingham photos to on the understanding that they may be used in a certain context on The Post website and will, of course, be credited.

But I wonder, with the plethora of specialist groups out there on Flickr, how keen are photographers going to be to submit to a Birmingham Post group?

Any advice and ideas from members of Flickr, and particularly the Birmingham Flickr group, would be gratefully received.

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20 Responses to “Could The Post website use Flickr?”


  1. 1 Tom January 15, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Creating a separate group would be the way to go. As long as I was credited properly, my name, link back to the photo I’d be happy to submit stuff.

    The key thing is to actually interact with the group, start discussions, get meetings going etc. The more you get to know people the more photos your going to get.

    Perhaps you could do a week of prizes with Jessops to kick it off, or perhaps set some special competitions now and again when birmingham does special events.

  2. 2 Pete Ashton January 15, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Interacting with the group is the key, which could be an issue as you’re not a photographer let alone an active participant on Flickr. So get one of your photographer bods to run it.

    Taking this further they could even run masterclasses or advice threads for photojournlism. This could be as simple as picking photos that were submitted to the group and critiquing them. (Do this within Flickr, btw, not on the Post site.) Help Birmingham’s amateur photographers get better and everyone wins.

    I think the key here is you have to give something to get something.

    As for running the group, make it so admins have to approve submissions (something you can do two or three times a day) so you can put the live feed on the website without worrying about pictures of cocks.

  3. 3 salamandertome January 15, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Flickr is a public space, any picture published to Flickr as a public document can be linked to from another website without any copyright issues. Its better to give credit on the web site, but the link to Flickr will give credit when clicked on.

    Downloading the image and uploading it to another website is another issue, and probably a breach of copyright, although I imagine most Flickr photographers would agree provided they are credited and it isnt used commercially.

  4. 4 James Tate January 15, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I would also be happy to post to a new flickr group and am in agreement with tom and pete.As long as entries are moderated and credit given then I think lots of people would submit their work.

  5. 5 Andy Fell January 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I think Pete Ashton is right when he says that you have to give something to get something, I can only speak for myself (and I do not want to sound altruistic) but basically if I get credited with the image and perhaps enter a yearly (say) lottery for accepted images
    then I guess it is fine by me. Copyright, however, should stay with
    the author.The problem may be that there could be “undesirable” images posted.

  6. 6 D'log January 15, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I think I wound want the Post to agree to a rider, placed on the pool pages, that they will try not to use Flickr pictures to substitute for the work of their salaried/paid-stringer photographers, or their paid-for agency photographs.

    I’d also want them to say something like – “if we use more than three photographs from one Flickr photographer for free, thereafter we’ll start paying them our standard fee”.

  7. 7 Tim January 15, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Largely an echo of what Tom and Pete said. If you just create a “Birmingham Post” group and rely on people actively seeking it out then your results will be patchy (at best).
    It’s probably a good idea to think about what you want the group to be about so people can consider why they should post to that group rather than, or in addition to any of the other Birmingham related groups (I’m not saying people will consider, of course…)

    In the early days you’ll probably need to actively seek submissions – look through the group pools or use Tag searches and invite people to submit to the pool – hopefully they will join the group and submit further images.

    Encourage people to participate by posting challenges, competitions and other games as threads to the group.

    Advice for photo-journalists is another “selling point” for a Birmingham Post group, both in terms of “tips and techniques” for the photography side, and the “how would I go about getting a job for/selling photos to The Birmingham Post” would be offering advice that is not readily available on the existing groups.

    Pete is probably right that you want to Moderate the group to approve submissions if you are going to pick them up directly on the Birmingham Post site – You can have multiple moderators so that one person is not snowed under with submissions. You might also want to consider whether you want a posting limit to prevent anyone from flooding the group with all their pictures…

  8. 8 Craig McGinty January 15, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    As others have mentioned make sure it is a two-way process.

    How many pics are taken by the photo desk that never see the light of day and are sat on a server in the office?

    Place a handful from local events up on Flickr and let bloggers who also attended the event feature a pic or two alongside their own write-ups.

    For one of the best examples of hooking Flickr up to a community to help photographers improve their skills see:

    http://digital-photography-school.com/blog/

  9. 9 Phil January 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    The Birmingham Post is a commercial organisation. If they want photographs why don’t they pay for them?

    Any commercial usage of photographs by these people must be paid for at their standard rate – whatever that is.

    If I was pro photographer trying to make a living selling photos to places like the BP I would be very concerned about this.

    Many of the photos taken by the Birmingham Flickr group are well up to pro standards. If the BP want to use them in a commercial sense, they should be paid for at the going rate.

    If using photos from the Birmingham Flickr group members is going add something to the paper itself or the papers website this should accrue a fee.

    Are we in danger of selling ourselves short on this? Just because photography is our hobby, it doesn’t mean that our photos have no commercial value.

    The last time I looked, the Birmingham Post was not a freesheet!

  10. 10 Pete Ashton January 15, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Phil raises a valid point but before Jo clarifies stuff a few points.

    I suspect the pro photographers at the Post won’t be too happy if they’re being done out of a job so I doubt we’ll be replacing them soon.

    Further to this, there’s more to press photography than taking good photos. The chances are the photos of Flickr are mostly useless for print. Think of the difference between a (well written) blog post and a newspaper article. Completely different beasts.

    We’re not talking about the newspaper. This, I believe would be a feature on the website only. A model might be a blog that links to and quotes from local blogs and posts photos from Birmingham that have the “blog this” button enabled. Or something else.

    I do this with the Created in Birmingham blog, regularly blogging photos from Flickr without asking permission (if they have a “blog this” button). And yes, that’s a commercial site in that I get paid to do it.

    That said, there are issues here. I personally don’t submit photos to competitions like in the Guardian Weekend magazine because the T&Cs don’t agree with me. The Post’s legal bods need to be very clear that they’re not assuming anything more than posting photos hosted on Flickr and linked back to the original page and that all ownership remains as is.

  11. 11 Stephen Cooper January 15, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Would the Birmingham Post gladly give other blogs access to their 150 year old library of images?

    No I didn’t think so.

  12. 12 joannageary January 15, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Hello everyone,

    Apologies I haven’t been able to write a response earlier. I am on a late shift tonight.

    Thank you all for the comments so far. Please keep them coming!

    Most of what I want to say is already well summed up by Pete Ashton.

    But I think it’s worth stressing that the idea is not to use Flickr pictures for articles, etc. Unless, or course, we contacted the owner for permission and paid for them.

    What we’re talking about here is a specific Flickr showcase or blog – so anyone visiting The Post website can see some fantastic shots of Birmingham and, if they click on the link, explore the work of the local photographers that took them.

    We would credit people and the pictures would only feature in that particular section of the site.

    The idea behind it is about getting our audience in touch with other good content out there on the web and… hopefully… vice versa.

    I really, really want to stress this idea never came about as a plan to rip people off. Pete has said it better than I, but we have plenty of good photographers here at The Post and long may that continue to be the case.

    In response to Stephen: you’re right, The Post probably wouldn’t give everyone access to 150 years of photos. But then, I don’t think I’m asking anyone on Flickr to give us that level of access either. All I’m suggesting is that, now and again, they may be happy to submit a photo to The Post Flickr pool and for it to be displayed and linked to on our Flickr feed on our website.

    Also, I see no reason why in the future The Post shouldn’t provide Flickr users with access to some of its shots. I’d like to see the Post with its own Flickr account and putting up shots relevent to the week’s news.

  13. 13 Phil January 15, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Some healthy dialogue here. This is what Web 2.0 is all about!!!!!!!

    How are other newspapers or magazines approaching these sorts of issues? Have any other publications got a model for this sort of thing in place.

    BP.

  14. 14 Pete Ashton January 15, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Phil: The Guardian’s food blog has a Flickr group which commenters add photos to which the blog writers then feed into the blog. Apparently there’s a lot of interaction there – a real little community. (I only heard about it today so might be wrong but it looks like a good model)

    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/food/
    http://flickr.com/groups/wordofmouth/

  15. 15 Matt Murtagh January 16, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Gosh, can’t we all just get along?

    In my opinion any exposure for a photographer is helpful and as long as the Post was respectful of intellectual copyright (and so on) a partnership between them and the Flickr community would be mutually beneficial. It is, in fact, very heartening to see the Post reaching out in this way. I agree that a Post group probably wouldn’t work though unless a significant amount of effort was put in by its admins to keep it alive through competitions and events. A blog would be great however if it was well run, something along the lines of CIB but concentrated solely on Brummie photography, with support from traditional and online media.

    I would love to see the Post’s Flickr account too, there are some good photogs on the paper who are somewhat underappreciated I think.

  16. 16 SteveX January 16, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    I imagine a Post flickr account/showcase would probably appeal more to readers who, upon finding they have taken a picture of great artistic quality, would like to display it on a larger stage.

    I wouldn’t have thought many professionals or ‘full-time amateurs’ would offer up their work to the Post, especially if they already have their own established platform (Flickr or otherwise).

    Should the Post be opening a Flickr-linked Facebook account? (maybe not)

  17. 17 Lee Jordan January 19, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I’d be interested in the licensing issues surounding this, by default flickr is set to publish photos as “copyrighted” in which case you have to ask you cannot take. But if a user is publishing under creative commons you can take and you need not ask, only inform and offer a chance to decline.

    The attribution part of the license means you have to give credit, share-a-like part of the license means you should really not be owning the rights to the photo just because it’s on your site (unless the real owner has agreed to that). The non-commercial part says obviously if you can or cannot use the work for commercial reasons, a lack of non-comercial means you can use the work for commercial reasons.

    However if I give a photo (email it to the picture desk) and agree to the terms then yes I’ve given up some of my rights. If the terms say “by giving us this photo you give use certain rights” that’s fine, but if a photo is taken from me and my work is copylefted and share-a-like then the rights need to be agreed if they are going to be changed.


  1. 1 What I’m going to do with the Flickr feedback « Joanna Geary Trackback on January 17, 2008 at 1:23 pm
  2. 2 Pete Ashton’s Blog » Fear of a UCG planet and the Hero Journo Trackback on January 18, 2008 at 4:21 pm
  3. 3 Trust and UGC « Joanna Geary Trackback on February 22, 2008 at 1:20 am

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