Why it matters: Flickr's upcoming changes to its free tier won't impact the company's massive library of Flickr Commons and Creative Commons photos. That's great news for photographers and image users alike although free members that want to continue to upload Creative Commons images beyond their 1,000 limit will need a Pro account to do so.
Flickr’s new owner, SmugMug, announced earlier this month that it would be limiting free tier members to 1,000 photos and videos starting January 8, 2019. The company argues that Yahoo’s decision to grant free users 1TB of storage was a mistake that undervalued the worth of paid storage.
Starting February 5, 2019, free accounts with over 1,000 photos or videos will have content removed – starting with the oldest content first – to comply with the new limit.
Almost immediately, users questioned the fate of Flickr’s massive library of Flickr Commons and Creative Commons photos. Would these be going away with the pending changes? On Wednesday, Flickr answered those questions.
The Flickr Commons is for images from institutions that wish to share their digital collections. These often consist of historical photos whose copyright has expired or government images that are part of the public domain. Organizations contributing to the Flickr Commons already have Pro accounts so nothing will be changing.
Creative Commons licenses, meanwhile, allow individual photographers to license their work for others to use freely. Images that were uploaded with a Creative Commons license before Flickr’s announcement on November 1, 2018, are also safe. Free tier users won’t be able to upload new Creative Commons images beyond their 1,000 limit after January 8, 2019, unless they upgrade to a Pro account.