Flickr licensing FAQ

We've changed the way we're licensing images. Get your questions answered below!

Previous agreement and partnership with Getty Images

Learn about the previous agreement and how this affects you if you've participated in it.

What happened with the past Flickr and Getty Images partnership?

Flickr has long wanted to create a proprietary licensing platform that emphasizes strong relationships within the Flickr community. We’ve negotiated a new agreement with Getty Images that allows us to directly connect with our creative community and create wide reaching licensing opportunities.

Getty Images is a strong distribution channel whose first class collection of royalty-free and rights-managed photographs continues to secure access of Flickr photos to photo editors, designers, and a global audience of photo buyers.

Are my photos in the Flickr Collection on Getty Images affected?

If you currently have photos available for licensing on Getty Images, the previous terms and conditions that you signed as an approved contributor continue to apply.

Do I need to remove photos sold on Getty Images from Flickr?

Absolutely not. Just like today, you can continue featuring your work in your Flickr photostream.

If I participated in the previous Getty Images partnership, am I eligible for the new offer?

Yes. You are welcome to license any photos that are not currently in a collection at Getty Images through the Flickr Marketplace.


Licensing options

Learn what licensing options are available to you.

What sort of licensing does Flickr support?

There are two types of licenses available:

  1. Royalty-free (RF) – Royalty-free photos are licensed at set prices based upon the file-size the customer purchases. The end-use is not specified (though certain types of uses that are defamatory, pornographic or illegal are banned) so the customer has a lot of flexibility in how they use the photos, and can use them multiple times.
  2. Microstock - On the more budget friendly side of "traditional" stock photography, a microstock license allows for similar flexibility to that found in RF, but caters to buyers looking for more affordable options.

Previously, (from the summer of 2014 through the spring of 2015), Flickr offered a Rights-managed, exclusive offering via its sales channel, Getty Images (details below):

Rights-managed (RM) – Rights-managed photos are licensed with restrictions on usage, such as limitations on size, placement, duration of use and geographic distribution. The price of the license takes these elements into account. (Most photo agencies have a built in calculator for this purpose.) Exclusive rights to photos are available for some rights-managed products.

Does Flickr still support Creative Commons?

Yes, absolutely! You can find out more on Flickr: Creative Commons or on the Flickr Account Preferences page.

Can my photo be under a Creative Commons license and still be eligible for the Flickr Marketplace?

Yes, a photo can be in both our non-exclusive offerings and be available under a Creative Commons license on Flickr (excluding public domain or no copyright known).

Will Flickr collaborate with distribution channels to license photos?

Yes. As part of our efforts to create additional opportunities for the Flickr community, we will be reaching out to other distribution channels.

In these cases we will have updates and information available via Flickr Mail or Flickr blog posts.

Can I still enable my Flickr photos for “Request to License”?

Not at the current time, but we are working on improving the ‘Request to License’ option and will notify the Flickr community as soon as it’s ready. Stay tuned!

Can I submit my photos for approval?

Not yet, but we are working on building a seamless way for you to submit photos for licensing. More soon.

Do I have to license my photos through Flickr?

There is no obligation to start licensing with Flickr, although it is a wonderful opportunity to participate in the world of stock photography.

Nothing happens automatically just because you have a Flickr account. The Curatorial Team at Flickr is actively looking for suitable public content on Flickr, and once located, they will contact the photographer to see if they are interested in joining the fun. Likewise, there are no obligations for you to license your photos when someone makes a request.

If you are not interested, you can simply ignore any invitation you might receive, and/or email us at to opt out of the program altogether.

I don’t live in the United States. Can I still participate?

Currently the licensing program is only available to photographers residing in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and the United Kingdom. We're working hard to offer the program to Flickr community members in additional countries and will be in touch with more information as we expand.


Getting licensed

Learn what it takes to join Flickr licensing.

What’s involved in enrolling as a Flickr contributor?

If you receive an invitation to join Flickr licensing, you'll be asked to read and sign the Flickr Contributor Terms of Service (located at When you accept these terms you will be notified by Flickr Mail and a Photo Editor will be scheduled to begin curating your photo stream. Once done, we will send you a list of photo links that we would like to enroll into the Flickr Marketplace. You have the option to approve or opt out any of these selections at that time. This is not an automated process, so we appreciate your patience as we work with the community to improve the functionality of this initiative.

What is the best format to post my photos for licensing with Flickr?

All original photos that are posted to Flickr for licensing should be the largest size available and formatted as flattened RGB JPG files or EPS 3.0.

What do I need to do prior to submitting photos for the Flickr Marketplace?

In order for any photo to be submitted for licensing, a photographer must set the photo to public and must follow all Flickr’s terms and policies (including Flickr’s Community Guidelines).

Will I need to upload high-resolution files?

To be enrolled into the Flickr Marketplace program, we require non-watermarked, minimum 3 megapixel files of any approved photo. Our Curation Team will work with you prior to uploading your files (if necessary) to be sure your privacy settings are correct and to ensure, should you wish, that the high-res files are not publicly available.

What is the duration of a license from a distribution channel?

The duration of a license may vary depending on the buyer, the product and the specified use. For those photos licensed through our distribution channel(s), the buyer is allowed to renew the license prior to expiration up to five times for educational use and one time for all other uses. The length of a license term is on a use-by-use basis, and with our royalty-free offerings, the end use is unspecified allowing the buyer more versatility than with photos that may be licensed through an exclusive arrangement.

How do buyers find photos on Flickr or other distribution channels?

The Flickr Curation Team will be working hard to update the tags on your photos to be accurate. This will include adding keywords that are standard in the licensing industry. On Flickr, these tags will be added to the photo but not may be visible to you, the photographer.

With our different distribution channels, these new tags will be the only ones used for licensing purposes and will allow buyers to easily find your Flickr photos on their platform. In addition, as we work to build out the Flickr Marketplace, we will be implementing additional methods for buyers to find your content through our unique Flickr search experience.

I press the 'Join' button and nothing happens.

Sometimes, if you have an active pop-up blocker, it will block your ability to open the Contributor Terms of Service. Try adjusting the pop-up blocker in your Internet browser settings to see if that solves the problem. If that does not work, perhaps try a different Internet browser.


Once you have a Flickr license

Learn more about what happens once your content has been licensed.

Where will my photos be sold?

We are currently exploring a wide range of licensing opportunities for members of the Flickr Marketplace. This includes internal Yahoo and Flickr placement, distribution with agencies like Getty Images and licensing opportunities with global media outlets. Our goal is to showcase the beautiful photos that you and others have enrolled in the Flickr Marketplace by continuing to explore an array of outlets and creative proposals.

How do I know where and when my image has been sold?

If a photo has sold, you, the photographer, will receive a statement that includes the following:

  • Date of sale
  • Description of photo
  • Link to the photo on Flickr
  • The source and/or collection
  • The total royalty to be paid

When do I get paid once my image is sold?

When working with third party distribution channels, such as stock photo agencies, Yahoo may receive payment 30 to 60 days after sale of a photograph. The photographer will then receive payment 30 days after that payment is received by Yahoo.

Can I get paid by check/cash?

At this point in time, payment is only available through PayPal.

How much will my photo be sold for/ what is the minimum royalty?

The pricing varies based on the collection, demand and which distribution channel is selected. At this time, Flickr is working on a variety of licensing opportunities and distribution channels. In some of these channels, Flickr does not control the price. So unfortunately, we cannot make any guarantees concerning how much your image will sell for, when or if it will sell.

The royalty rate for any sale, though, is 51% after net sales deductions. Even though we cannot always control the price, we make sure that you, the photographer, receive 51% of whatever we receive.

For photographers located outside of the United States, you should be aware that Yahoo, Inc! is required to withhold tax for any licensing payout to a photographer located outside of the United States. The discrepancy that you may see between your Flickr royalty statement and your PayPal notification is due to this tax requirement. This does not impact those photographers residing within the United States.

Can I choose whether or not I want to license my photo to a specific buyer?

We cannot specify the end use or limit the duration of individual licenses. However, we prohibit uses that are defamatory, pornographic or illegal.

Will I get credit for my photos?

We recommend that all buyers use a credit line, but this is at their discretion. This may be omitted, especially in certain commercial scenarios where it is too difficult to include attribution or where this might interfere with the aesthetics of the final product.

Which Getty Images collection will my photo be sold through?

Any photos submitted for licensing and accepted into the Flickr Marketplace could appear in either the royalty-free or microstock collection.

Can I delete images from my photo stream that have been enrolled into Flickr Marketplace?

No. You cannot delete images that have been enrolled. Doing so will cause that photo to be unavailable to buyers and possibly impact future licensing opportunities.

Do I have to keep my enrolled images as “public?”

Yes. All photos that are enrolled in licensing should be set to public.

Can I continue to use my photos on my website or in a gallery?

Since the photos are licensed as non-exclusive, royalty-free, any type of use by you, as the photographer, is allowed.

I already have my photos licensed with another agency. Can I still participate?

Yes. Since the photos are licensed to Flickr as non-exclusive, you have the ability to license your works to different parties as you see fit. We do ask that, if the photo is already licensed with Getty Images, you inform us of that arrangement. Because Flickr has an arrangement with Getty, we will exclude identified images from the Getty/Flickr distribution outlet at this point in time.

What is promotional use and why is it free?

The only time we will use your photos without compensation is to promote your individual work available for licensing or to promote the Flickr Marketplace. Any other use by Flickr or Yahoo will be done with permission and/or compensation. Promotional use is important since it increases the clients and opportunities that we are able to offer you by making your work more visible and accessible to buyers.


Opting out of Flickr licensing

Learn what your options are if you change your mind after accepting a Flickr Marketplace invitation.

Can I opt out after I’ve opted in?

Yes, you can opt out of the Flickr Marketplace at a later date after joining by returning to the Flickr Marketplace landing page (located at and clicking the “Opt out” button. When you opt out of the program, we will no longer curate any new photos from your photostream. Please note, that when you opt out of the program, any photos that you previously approved for inclusion remain for sale.

How do I remove any previously enrolled photos from the Flickr Marketplace and how long will it take for a photo to be removed from a collection?

In order for you to remove photos from the Flickr Marketplace, you must send written notification to and include the Flickr image URL and a description of the photo. Within 2 weeks (maximum), Flickr will submit a removal request to all distribution channels.

Each distribution channel will be required to remove the photo from the licensing pool within 90 days after the Flickr notification is received unless the photo has been previously licensed or is licensed prior to the removal occurring. In the rights-managed, exclusive collection, which is no longer offered in the Flickr Marketplace, there are more restrictions on withdrawing the photo, since the buyer may have been granted exclusive rights. For more information, see the 'exclusivity section' of this FAQ.


Flickr licensing glossary

Learn the terms that are used in the Flickr Marketplace.

What is 'Commercial' vs. 'Editorial?'

Typically, commercial uses involve advertising, promotional and situations where an image is converted into a product (calendar, t-shirts, etc.). Generally speaking, a photo is eligible for commercial use when all appropriate releases and rights have been secured.

If the appropriate rights are not on file, the photo is considered editorial use only (non-commercial and in context).

What is a 'model release?'

Model releases are required for all recognizable people in photographs, in order for those images to be licensed for commercial use (and, even in certain editorial situations). This includes both people who are clearly visible, and people who may be recognizable because of distinct tattoos, scars, clothing, setting or others that appear in the photograph. Even if someone is not recognizable, if he or she is the main subject of the photograph, a release should be obtained.

Certain situations are sensitive and may require model releases in order for a photograph to be licensed commercially, even if the subject is not clearly recognizable. These include photos of children, nude or partially nude people or people in particularly private or sensitive circumstances.

This is a self-portrait; do I still need to provide a model release?

We will request a model release for any recognizable individual in a photo – even if it is you.

What is a 'property release?'

Property releases may be required in connection with certain photographs of recognizable buildings and real estate, in order for those images to be licensed for commercial use (such as fine art, trademarks, the Eiffel Tower lights at night, Buckingham Palace, etc.).

If a property release is not provided, it generally means the photo can be licensed for editorial use, but not commercial.

What is 'exclusivity?'

For photos accepted into the previously offered rights-managed collection, exclusivity is required due to the type of rights that may be granted to a buyer. The photographer is not allowed to (1) license the same photo to any other source (past, present or future) and (2) license a “similar” photo. This is not applicable with our current royalty-free, non-exclusive offerings.

What are 'similars?'

Similars are photos that have repeating elements, such as photos where models, clothing, setting, etc., are comparable.

If a photo is added to the previously offered rights-managed collection, where it is exclusive, similars are excluded from future licensing opportunities. The exclusivity requirement remains while the photo is in the collection or is licensed to a third party on an exclusive basis. This is not applicable with our current royalty-free, non-exclusive offerings.

What is the difference between 'Royalty-Free' and 'Rights-Managed?'

Photos that were previously submitted and enrolled into the Rights-Managed collection required exclusivity. This was due to the type of licensing requirements that users demanded in connection with such images. Royalty-free programs do not require exclusivity as a condition for participating in such programs. Please note that Royalty-Free does not mean the image is free.

At any point that your photo is licensed, you will receive a royalty statement for that use, which will let you know the date of the sale and the royalty amount.


The new Flickr Wall Art initiative

Learn about our exciting wall art opportunity and how your licensed photos may be used.

How might I be able to see which of my photos are in the collection?

Currently we don't have a way to search the pool of Flickr Wall Art photos by photographer name or photostream. All photos enrolled for licensing are searchable via category on the Flickr Wall Art page ( and then by scrolling through the photo gallery. We are currently working on improving search and functionality for this offering, and, as always, we will do our best to notify the Flickr community with any updates as they happen.

How does my photo retain attribution as part of a wall art creation?

Each piece of printed wall art will include delivery of an attachable sticker containing the attribution line.

How do I sign up and submit photos for the Flickr Wall Art program?

As an enrolled member of the Flickr Marketplace (which means that you have accepted the corresponding terms of service), any photos that you have approved and have been fully enrolled in the program will already to be part of the Flickr Wall Art program (exceptions may include rights-managed photos or photos where the original, hi-res file are not available on Flickr). There is no need for you to take any additional steps. We will continuously be looking for fully enrolled photos that fit current and future curated categories in an effort to find the best fit for your work.

Will I automatically be part of the Flickr Wall Art program or can I decline this portion of the Flickr Marketplace opportunity?

This offering in the Flickr Marketplace is active for all photographers with photos that have been approved and fully enrolled in the program (see above for details). At this time, you do have an option to decline the Flickr Wall Art opportunity while remaining enrolled in other licensing endeavors through Flickr. In order to do so, please contact to submit this request.


Version 1.5 - January 11, 2016

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