Flickr (aka Yahoo) needs a reality check

You may have heard of an Icelandic photographer named Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir (I have no idea how to pronounce that!). She’s taken some gorgeous artistic shots and trick photos that dazzle the eye and mind alike. She’s so good, in fact, that an unscrupulous print shop decided to sell canvas prints of her work without permission, and made a fair chunk of money at it. That’s enough to piss anyone off, so she launched her attack by blogging about the incident on Flickr, where many of her fans joined the discussion and showed their support.

Enter Yahoo, which owns Flickr. Their “solution” was quick and dirty: they removed the photographer’s pictures from her Flickr account. It seems their people are too busy to bother figuring out who the images really belong to, so they successfully pissed off the original artist while only helping the thieves by destroying the evidence. They even had the gall to threaten Rebekka with the following words:

“Flickr is not a venue for to you harass, abuse,
impersonate, or intimidate others. If we receive a valid
complaint about your conduct, we will send you a warning or
terminate your account.”

The result has been a huge backlash against Flickr and Yahoo for being so deep in the wrong. If they had issue with the content of her blog posts, they could have politely asked her to remove or rephrase the offensive text. Deleting the pictures exposing the crooks was a big “Fuck You” to the artist and the community built around her work. Flickr is not legally obligated to do anything, it is a free service with no guarantees, but in this case they could not have done any worse. Doing nothing would have been better. Trying to tell someone what they can and can’t do on the internet is probably the best way to make enemies.

EDIT: As mentioned by Rebekka herself, only one picture was deleted but more importantly, the 450+ comments were also removed.  Be it one or a thousand pictures, the motivation behind such actions is baffling.

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One Response to “Flickr (aka Yahoo) needs a reality check”

  1. rebekka says:

    flickr is NOT a free service if you’re a pro user, which i am. I pay to keep my work on there.

    However, its not right to say they deleted my “images” from my account.. they only deleted the one image along with all 450 comments. (which, of course, is still unacceptable)

    they werent destroying any evidence however, all evidence in this matter was collected by me back in february when i attempted to pursue only-dreemin with the assistance of a lawyer.
    that case never got anywhere further than a few mails, then they stopped responding. (they did however remove my images from their site at that time, and stopped selling them, but refused to compensate for their actions)

    positng about this on flickr was the only way for me to vent about this, and also warn others about this kind of thing happening. rather than just accept what they’d done. And the idea of them carrying on with their business as tho nothing had happened infuriated me to no end. As im sure it would anyone that finds themselves in this position.

    so yeah, i feel i had every right to rant a little.
    thanks for the kind words about my work btw:)
    -rebekka