Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The End of Flickr?

UPDATE: Stewart offers an apology and explanation and says it was a mistake...

On May 2nd, the Digg Community took control of Digg's editorial policy, ensuring that the encryption key for HD DVDs would be widely publicized.

Flickr may similarly remember May 15th as the day that their community rises up against an editorial policy decision which seems, to them, to be unfair.

On Monday, May 14th, respected photographer (and Zooomr CEO) Thomas Hawk published this post on his blog, relating the story of another Flickr photographer who alleged that her photographs were being ripped off. Along with this blog post, he posted this photo, which if you click on the link you will see is now missing, removed by Flickr staff.

So far, there are 8 other Technorati posts linking to Thomas Hawk's post.

And 18 comments on Flickr -- MOST FROM PRO USERS.

I predict that this is going to be an important moment for Flickr, which under Yahoo's watchful gaze has pretty much kept its independence since it was acquired a little over a year ago. But Yahoo (like Digg) would prefer not to be in the middle of a lawsuit. So they would rather remove content, on request, then get into the debate about who is right on the underlying issue. But what does it mean then to be the printing press for the citizenry?

That was the underlying test over at Digg, and Digg ended up giving in to the demands of the community. Yahoo is a bit bigger and more able to combat an angry audience. So will the audience rise up, as they did with Digg, and keep posting the photograph at the core of this conflict over and over again?

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