Let’s all say this together: Flikr is not free photography. You cannot just pull images off of the site and use them in an ad.
Oh, and there are professional shooters on Flikr who watch for agencies that try to steal their work. So you will get sued if you do it.
Like Heineken was.
A website for Heineken in Ireland was recently sued for copyright violation after using hundreds, if not thousands, of copyrighted photos in its promotion of the brand’s sponsorship of the Oxygen music festival.
Who knew that Flikr wasn’t a dam good place to get free photography? Heineken.
(See what I did there with that “dam” joke? Yeah? Eh? Oh.)
Their explanation is that the site was supposed to only pull photos with the commercial CC license, but even that is problematic as that license can be changed at any time, leaving the brand liable…which sort of cements the somewhat obvious fact that half-assing it by stealing pictures from the internet and using them for commercial purposes isn’t a good idea.
Not that you would, but don’t try to get away with using photos from Flikr. It’s a bad idea.