Flickr-alternative 500px has announced it is set to close down the sharing of images under Creative Commons. The new owners have partnered with evil megacorp Getty and as a consequence are…

“disabling the ability for people to upload or download photos shared under Creative Commons licenses.”

So far as I can tell from tests, the CC options and search have not yet been disabled.

But it’s not that desperate in terms of effects on serious picture researchers — I mean, when did you last find a print-sized commercial-use CC picture at 500px, via Google Images? Never, in my experience. It’s probably because the 500px user-base tends strongly toward makers of naff me-too ‘stock’ and ‘tourist’ images, which are of no use to academics and historians (and of little use to discriminating stock-hunters, either). But the decision is annoying for creatives who have a 500px subscription. Which includes me, after the once-great Flickr was crashed and burned by Yahoo.

I think the way for active makers to get around the new block may be just to tag with the phrase “Creative Commons” in the keywords, and also add a ‘please freely use this image’ comment as the creator. But not to explicitly place the picture under a CC license (which it seems won’t even be an option, soon). Let’s hope the new owners of 500px are not so crass as to also go in and delete all their users’ “Creative Commons” keyword tags.

More importantly, for 500px users….

“If you’re a contributing photographer who has not opted out of distribution, your images may be selected for inclusion on Getty Images”.

I find that also applies to people who have not chosen to actively try to sell stock on the 500px site. Here’s how to prevent Getty from grabbing all your pictures, in the next day or so…

1. Go to “Settings”…

2. Find “Distribution”, tick the check-box and save.

Presumably the plan is that all the commercial-use CC 500px images show up for sale at Getty next week, and that the 500px users then have no way to pull them back and/or delete them?