500px shuts down Creative Commons sharing

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Photo-sharing website 500px, long popular with professional photographers, has closed down the ability for photographers to share images under Creative Commons licenses.

It used to be that 500px allowed users to upload and download images without the usual restrictions of copyright licensing. But the company announced in May that it would soon be ending its Creative Commons policy.

That said, the move may not be permanent.

“There may be an opportunity to integrate Creative Commons back into our platform in the future,” 500px said in a statement. “We’ll be monitoring the feedback we receive from our community when this offering is removed over the weekend.”

500px says the move was due to outdated Creative Commons licenses, plus bugs within the search functionality, as well as a lack of activity.

The new policy comes amid a series of changes to shift 500px to a more commercialised business model. Photographers can now sell their images through the website, and its parent company, Visual China Group – which acquired 500px in February – runs the stock agency Corbis and recently signed a partnership with Getty Images.

CNet quotes Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley on the move:

“We’re grateful to the founders and leaders at 500px for their support for Creative Commons and for empowering a talented community of photographers to share their works with CC,” Merkley said. But he thinks CC images didn’t thrive at 500px in part because the company didn’t focus on them.

“Their focus is obviously now monetization, but it’s disingenuous to suggest CC works didn’t fare well on the platform when they weren’t given the same priority other platforms like Flickr give them,” Merkley said.