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How to License Flickr Photos with Getty Images "Request to License" Program

Updated on January 11, 2019

As a former, frequent user of Flickr's vast catalogue of images and photos to enhance my web pages, a practice which had been rapidly phased out in favor of utilizing visual artistry which I produce in my own personal studio, I always try my best to keep up to date on important, relevant changes which may directly affect transference from the diverse inventory of product if need be in the future. Recently, I noticed an icon next to some of the pictures located just below the "Creative Commons" license indicator in the lower right hand side of the photo page, so I decided to research further before contemplating the importation of any more of these tagged photos, or any other creative visual works on display at this immensely popular international venue. The end result of my in depth research was attainment of additional knowledge in regard to legal aspects while learning precisely how to license Flickr photos through Getty Images. Subsequent to my study, even though results yielded some ambiguity, I decided to fashion a brief summation containing pertinent primary bullet points, and publish this entry to share the information and educate all interested readers living in all corners of the world who might find this topic beneficial.

I embarked upon my typical knowledge seeking investigative journey with the intent to probe and study relevant resources as a goal, and subsequently ended up visiting both the Flickr and Getty Images websites, the primary focal points. Both of which contain a wealth of fundamental information on the subject. It was a fruitful engagement which yielded positive results, and fortunately, I ended up learning much more than I had originally anticipated. The essential steps for licensing a Flickr photo through Getty Images was satisfactorily ascertained after several hours of intensive review with my findings and opinion explained below in great detail. My initial reaction was the realization that the overall process from beginning to end can be confusing at first, but easier to comprehend after a few repeat readings. The following entry contains my personal interpretation and brief summary pertaining to how the "Request to License" Getty Images program works. It should provide a basic understanding of the process and I would strongly recommend visiting the Flickr or Getty Images websites if you have further questions.

- If you're a regular user of Flickr's huge, diverse photo archive, I hope you find the following helpful -

<> Flickr's Affiliation With Getty Images

According to information posted on the Flickr website, Flickr and Getty Images ( A leader in image hosting & Leader in the growing field of "Stock Photography" ) have joined forces to create a platform in which Flickr members who publish photos that meet certain Getty criteria, can be invited to license and sell images they own to potential commercial users under the Getty Images Licensing Program.

According to the specific Flickr page pertaining to this subject, it appears as if the "Getty License" program is another avenue for all members of the Flickr community to monetize their participation and photographic contributions. Here's how it works. There are apparently two ways to get your work licensed by Getty. One way is to express an interest by making a "request" to Getty for acceptance via the "Call to Artists" program where photographer's can submit up to 10 images per month for licensing consideration. The other is a direct invitation from Getty who provides an option to license a particular piece of work through their exclusive program. The process takes several days of comprehensive consideration to ensure the photo(s) meets or exceeds pre-determined criteria. Once this is established and a decision is made, Getty will either deny or approve the work for enrollment and participation.

Invitation From Getty Images Editor

According to the Flickr website, here's how the Getty Images "Request to License" program works. Editors from Getty scout the massive Flickr archive in search of the best quality samples that meet certain minimum requirements such as adequate size, clarity, quality etc. They may choose a photographer's entire body of work, or a single image. According to my interpretation, once this is determined and verified, they are evaluated for demand and marketability potential. Is the photo a quality product that will appeal to a broad audience? Will the general public or corporate entities be willing to pay for its commercial use? If the answer is yes, Getty Images will contact the creator/owner of the work and extend an invitation to license it through the company. According to the website, all the legalities are handled by Getty so the owner is not obligated to research or finance any part of the process.The final step is acceptance of the offer and signing the applicable agreement which binds both parties to the expressed terms.

- There are two different licensing programs that are currently offered and they are as follows per the Flickr website:

Getty Images License Programs

  • Rights-Managed (RM) Rights-managed works 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. (Getty Images has built a calculator for this.) Exclusive rights to images are available for some rights-managed products. Find out more about Rights-managed licensing over at Getty Images.
  • Royalty-Free (RF) Royalty-free images 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 ample flexibility in how they use the images, and can use them multiple times. Find out more about Royalty-free licensing over at Getty Images.

  • If the image contains the depiction of a person, the owner of the image must contact said person and obtain a signed "Model Release" from him/her. This must be an express release i.e. signature of the person in the photo. If the owner cannot locate the person or obtain the required signature, the image is not eligible for participation.

- Once enrolled in Getty Images licensing program, the photo is no longer available for "FREE" Commercial Use on Flickr -

According to the Flickr website, once an image is entered into the Getty "Request to License" program it can still remain on display in the Flickr gallery, but it can no longer be offered to the general public as a free commercial use photo with attribution ( "All Rights Reserved" will appear next to the image ). Anyone who wishes to use the photo for commercial purposes must obtain the rights through Getty Images and pay the applicable price or fee. This is an exclusive rights agreement between the parties and the image cannot be licensed with any other entity while under contract. Once entered into the Getty Images Program, legal status automatically converts to the "All Rights Reserved" category on Flickr.

My interpretation is as follows. Currently, when an image is imported for commercial use on a website, the attribution is displayed by the user via expressed written credit to the creator and a link back to both the Flickr photo page and Attribution License page. Both of these essential steps are required to ensure proper public notice is given to indicate the user/importer is simply displaying the image on his/her website or Blog for enhancement purposes only and he/she is not the owner/creator.


  1. An invitation from Getty Images is extended to a Flickr member as an offer to participate in one of two exclusive licensing programs -
  2. The offer is accepted or rejected by the Flickr member -
  3. If accepted, the Flickr member signs an exclusive agreement with Getty Images -
  4. The Flickr member is compensated when his/her photo is used commercially -
  5. The photo can still be viewed on the Flickr web site but is no longer available for free commercial use with attribution -

  • Free Commercial Use Images On Flickr?

The apparent trend toward licensing top quality images from the free Flickr archive is currently in its infancy stage and will presumably ramp up going forward. Every time I visit the site, I notice more and more members are expressing an interest in the Getty Images Program and the "Request to License" icon is becoming more prevalent.

Next time you visit Flickr to import a photo for use on your website, it might be a good idea to research and determine first if that particular photo is affiliated with or enrolled in the Getty Images Licensing Program. I would also suggest a visit the Getty Images website for additional information.

NOTE to Visitors - The "Links" listed below within the "Discover More Hubs" segment are randomly selected and placed by HubPages, not the author of this specific entry - Alternative Prime does not necessarily recommend or endorse the articles nor guarantee quality of the content contained therein -

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