mother flickr

I just found out that my Flickr photos had been marked as “no one sees your tags” because I had stuff up there that wasn’t mine, grabbed from the web etc. They’re totally within their rights because you agree not to do this when you sign up, and I’m a doof for forgetting that and just using them as a generic image host.

Unfortunately you don’t find this out until you wonder why your stuff isn’t showing up in a tagged stream and you complain, and then they tell you that:

Your photostream has been marked NIPSA (Not In Publics Site
Areas) as you have a number of photographs in your stream that are lifted from the web (copyrighted). If you remove them, we can review your stream again.

So they stealthily scan your photos, or respond to complaints, or some other method they don’t reveal, and then they stealthily mark you as “not for public consumption” and don’t tell you until you ask why it is that you’ve been censored. That’s really flicked-up. My guess is that they decided that notifying people who are on that list would result in a shitstorm of complaints and customer service contact and expense and stress, so they’re just going to do it silently and only deal with the small number of people who notice.

You know, I bet a lot of Flickr’s customers don’t pay attention to that rule, and I bet a lot of them are “NIPSA” and don’t know it. And I bet that makes their whole system less effective.

Once again I agree completely that their terms of service make sense and that people should follow them. But can’t they come up with something better than the Homeland Security No-Fly List model? Way to inspire paranoia, guys.

9 thoughts on “mother flickr

  1. Wonder if they use automated methods as well — looking at the photo meta-data like exim and such to troll for people with more than a certai % of their files being different types? I could see where they might be able to ignore someone where 99 of 100 of their pics were shot on the same kind of camera, vs. someone with a mix of cameras, photoshop, etc files and would get closer scrutiny.
    Interesting though…

  2. Okay, that freaks me out a little. Especially since I’m about 70/30 with the 30% being stuff I’ve found on the web.
    I wonder if they know about Creative Commons and all that?

    1. Yeah they do, and they support and encourage use of those licenses. They just don’t want their users horking everyone else’s stuff and using them as a generic image hoster, and I’m totally cool with that. It’s just their way of dealing with violations of their TOS that bites.

      1. Yeah, that’s really weird. It’s doubly odd because that sort of enforcement doesn’t actually make them a worse generic image hoster.

      2. Re: don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t reveal
        Dreamhost got me with a “This person is doing something we don’t want them to do — I’LL SHOW THEM!” thing with me once. It really doesn’t scale to customers.

  3. If you use your own space (for instance, utilizing, which takes about 10 minutes to set up, assuming you have PHP4/5 and ImageMagick installed), you can create any ToS you want! Plus, you know you always have quick access to all of your original files for backup in the event something catastrophic happens like the hosting company realizing they aren’t making money and shutting down, taking all of your photos with them.
    I am not super familiar with Flickr’s features, but Gallery has a bunch of stuff I would expect from that kind of thing: comments, voting, RSS, etc. Plus it is highly hackable (see also: my patch for “paste this HTML in your blog to include a clickable thumbnail”).

    1. I have my own space, so I can move stuff there. I just really, really like Flickr’s web services, API, community, all of it. They did a fine job.

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