Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Flickr gives full access to competitors

BoingBoing is reporting that Flickr's co-founder, Steward Butterfield, has promised that Flickr will allow any of their commercial competitors full access to their programming interfaces to help customers switch away from Flickr -- but only if the competitor has to offer the same deal.

This is fantastic news for openess and competition. Flickr promises that copyright to all photos placed on their website by users remains with the user (assuming the user owned the copyright in the first place). That promise that Flickr won't claim ownership of your digital content is meaningless if there is no easy way to move your content to another service.

(Imagine that you put your property in storage, but then discovered that you couldn't get it back out of storage. There is a word for that -- theft.)

Flickr's move will increase the pressure on other commercial content-hosting services to make good their promise to customers that the host won't snatch possession of their content from them. And because it will be a reciprical relationship, open competition will be encouraged, allowing the marketplace to choose the best services.

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