Paula Wirth PRO 9:32am, 9 March 2006
Paula was finally NIPSA'ed - anyone had this happen? Chances are that everyone who posts a ton of old ads and ephemera (or collage and illustration) may have this happen sooner or later...

In case you haven't heard of it before...
Paula's account has been deemed
NIPSA (Not In Public Site Areas)

Flickr has some interesting policies. This is a "photo-only" site, so if someone (anyone!) complains about one of your images, or flickr employees decide you have too many non-photo images, or something "offensive," they will remove your entire photostream from public view without any notice. Not even a form letter.

You find out all of a sudden, when you search public tags, and your photos no longer appear.

This may also cut your photo stream from appearing on your contact's home page, I don't know. Maybe my contacts can tell me if they still receive my photostream.

Sigh. This is kinda a downer. Any other vintage collectors and illustrator types out there had this happen, yet?

Funny thing is, I have a huge number of actual photos. Scads of them.

Guess it is time to stop bothering to "tag" my photos.

More on NIPSA...
Yolise 11 years ago
Best thing to do apparently, is to mark your own non-photos as 'May Offend' and then contact Flickr and ask them to un-NIPSA your account. They are sometimes accommodating.

I'd heard that they were working on new filters that would prevent accounts being NIPSAd for non-photos.
TinTrunk PRO 11 years ago
For what its worth, your photos are still appearing in my 'Your Contacts' page. Hope you sort this out Paula.

I've often wondered about this policy myself so what I tend to do is upload batches of self-taken photos and then batches of scanned images in the hope that the variety will protect me from official censure!
Jeff Heermann Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Jeff Heermann (member) 11 years ago
Apparently I'm in the same boat, Paula...I did a search for some of my more specific tags, and didn't get any results. I didn't even know about this policy before this morning (shame on me). Time to do a little research on the message boards, I'm thinkin'.
Yolise Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Yolise (member) 11 years ago
This may be the best place to start:

Again, however, you can avoid your entire account being NIPSAd by marking your own images as 'May Offend' if they are not photos you've taken. This is a temporary misnomer and doesn't imply that your images are offensive, only that you recognise that they are not photos.

Flickr is working on a better way to manage this in future, however (I know because it comes up alot).
leifpeng PRO 11 years ago
I'm probably the worst offender on Flickr of this policy. Hopefully Flickr will take into consideration that all of us who collect and share printed matter from the past are doing so for educational purposes only and not to make money or infringe on anyone's copyright.

I'm sure that's why Flickr has this policy in place... to protect themselves from the owners of copyrighted material swooping down on them.

FYI, these issues, known as "orphaned works" are the topic of much discussion right now in creative communities even as the U.S. Congress is debating changing the copyright law.

You may wish to read further at The Illustrators' Partnership of America

Click on the "Proposed Legislation..." topic in the Newsfeed window.

I think it's also best for everyone to always keep in the back of your mind that we likely continue to enjoy our shared collections because we are flying under the radar of a whole variety of entertainment and publishing conglomerates. That we've been NIPSA'd is the least of our worries.

Curtis Publishing, for instance, sells the use of the images from old Saturday Evening Post covers. The vast majority of my collection is scanned from SEP, including occassional covers.

I don't doubt that if they got wind of my sharing these scans ( even tho they are lo res ) they would shut me down in a second flat - or worse.

So long as we can continue to share our scans with each other and store them here on Flickr I think we should count our lucky stars - its a great site for hosting and organizing ( and sharing ) my collection.
wardomatic 11 years ago
I was NIPSA'ed but sent a message to Flickr Support about maybe reconsidering. This is the message I got back:

Hi Ward,

I've un-nipsa'd your account. Please do upload more photos

In the long run, we'll have a way of tagging images as being something other than photos (screenshots, illustrations, art-thingies, etc.) and then everyone will be happy.

Until then, to keep photo searches photo searches, we only have the blunt instrument of nipsa to do the job.

Understand that we're not any of us "against" illustrations, drawings, paintings, etc., for aesthetic or moral or political reasons - just trying to hold Flickr together, and till we have more subtle tools, it's the only thing we can do.

Thanks for being understanding and reasonable :)

- Stewart

There is one quirk about this, however (and Paula, you already know about this because I've sent you a message about it): Even though they un-NIPSA'ed my account, all the images and photos before the change still does not come up in tag searches. So if you do a global tag search for "ava thursday" you'll only see the images AFTER the change. Oh well. No biggie. I'm just happy I'm off the "marked" list.
Paula Wirth PRO 11 years ago
I haven't heard back from flickr folks yet--- don't know how long it takes them to sort through their mail... I am guessing they get lots of folks contacting them re: this issue... all as surprised as me... I doubt most posts/requests are as calm and polite as mine, however...
leifpeng PRO 11 years ago
Interesting response you got Ward. Notice it says "we're not any of us "against" illustrations, drawings, paintings, etc., for aesthetic or moral or political reasons" - but what about for copyright infringement reasons...?

You've got a pretty well balanced mix of photos, your own ( and Ava's ) illustrations and scans from printed matter. But what about someone ( ok, me ) who's got almost nothing but scans?

Frankly, I'm kinda afraid to even stick my head up and inquire for fear of getting too closely scrutinized!

I have to admit I don't generally search by tags anyway, I click back through links of people who have commented on my own scans or the scans of others, assuming that those folks most likely share my interests and have uploaded their own scans - which has proven to be the case.

Could anyone educate me on why you would want to be searched by the public? As it is, I get about two new contacts a day who seem to be finding their way to my photostream...
Yolise Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Yolise (member) 11 years ago
leifpeng, are you suggesting they should be more diligent with regard to copyright infringement? Seems like that would be the end of your group. :-)

I'd definitely suggest keeping your head below the parapet, however, since the Orphan Works amendment hasn't passed yet.

As to why people would want to be searched by tag, well, a lot of people are into the whole sharing/creative commons licensing thing, and tagging is a part of that.

I tag so I can find my own stuff more easily.
leifpeng PRO 11 years ago
Thx 4 that yolise, of course you're right. :-)
Hopefully Mid-Century in Print and my own photostream will continue to exist for a long, long time, but I always feel an impending sense of doom. As a creator I would not want someone to unfairly profit from my copyrighted work, but I also wouldn't be offended if "fans" were posting lo-res versions of my work, as is commonly done among comic fans who post scans of their favourite artists' work on tribute sites.

Corporate lawyers, however, probably wouldn't see it that way. And I suspect Flickr would listen to their argument before they would listen to mine. Or ours.

For now, my fingers are crossed ( toes too ). ;-)
Yolise 11 years ago
So far Flickr has been very reasonable about stuff. Hopefully they will continue to be. As long as no copyright holder wanders by and complains, I reckon you (and we!) are safe. :-)
wardomatic Posted 11 years ago. Edited by wardomatic (member) 11 years ago
Leif, I think you're fine where you stand right now. You're right -- I have more photos than you would. So just lay low. But really, I think we should be okay in regards to our Flickr groups. The intent of mid-cent and Retro Kid is mainly for historical and educational purposes. We give credit whenever it's possible -- there are many websites out there that do this sort of thing and have not been shut down.
Luc Latulippe [deleted] 11 years ago
Yeah Leif, you always credit the artists of the work you upload, you're not trying to pass it off as your own, and you're not making money from it. But I hear what you're saying. I guess I'd be a little nervous too.

As for Flickr, I'm really looking forward to the next generation of the site allegedly allowing non-photo searches. Even if Flickr set out to design a photo-sharing site (which they've accomplished more elegantly and successfully than anyone else has, let's face it, but which was not their original goal: ), the fact of the matter is that the site's gazillion users have seen beyond this goal and imagined further uses for it, thereby making the site even more amazing than Ludicorp had planned.

I think the NIPSA'ing is utterly pointless, and a terrible disservice to paying users. Sorry, but I do. It's getting punished for having a different (or better) idea. What does it really accomplish? It would be different if Flickr was a site JUST for professional photographers; if it were, you could make a completely convincing case of excluding all the non-professional and non-photos from searches.

But it's not a pro site; its users are comprised of amateurs with picture phones, to pro photogs, to illustrators and designers. So there's no real practical point in NIPSA'ing accounts (except for serious copyright breaches), or to giving what amounts to preferential treatment to the people who upload ONLY photos. At least none of the arguments the Flickr staff have posted have convinced me of such.. some of their replies about this in the other threads often sounded rather "Nyah, nyah! It's our ball, it's our rules!"

Flickr has designed a far better site than all the other pro portfolio sites around COMBINED (Altpick, theispot,, FolioPlanet, etc..). And they're 9/10ths CHEAPER, or better. So I hope the new version of Flickr addresses this NIPSA'ing thing more intelligently, and that the future version will allow users to categorized their page as either "pro illustrator" or "pro photographer" or "amateur photographer" or "here's tons of porn I found online" or "just sharing photos with my pals." Whatever.

Gah.. end rant. I gotta go upload some stuff that can't be searched. See ya! Mwah!
Paula Wirth PRO 11 years ago
I still haven't received any response to my note to flickr - and it was very polite. Funny how they can't bother to respond to a question.
leifpeng PRO 11 years ago
Hhmmm, well they may have decided to cut out early and go get a beer - it is friday after all ;-)

Luc, you get my vote for best Flickr-related rant of 2006.

And I completely agree with you ;-)
*julia PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by *julia (admin) 11 years ago
Okay, this is going to be REALLY rambly and sloppy, because it's really late at night, and I'm very sick with a bad cold, but I wanted to weigh in and say, YES, it sucks!

I found out about this when Flickr had a notice on the front page saying "Come see our new guidelines." I read them and was very surprised (btw, there it says very clearly that a nipsa'd person's images will still appear for their contacts and for their groups).

I emailed and said that I wasn't aware that flickr was a "photo site" per se; that IMO, it is a visual communication site. That even if that was not the original intent of the founders, that is what the users (of this supposedly dynamic and user-oriented community) have created. I feel this should be respected.

I explained that I (and most of flickr users, from what I can tell) use flickr as a medium for sharing visually ... which includes, but is not limited to, photography.

In that vein, certain questions come up: as far as the flickr powers-that-be are concerned, is there a difference btwn a photo of a piece of illustrative art and a scan of said art? What if the photo is of a graffiti wall?

Also, is some photography unacceptable? I mean, lots of people here take photos of their random stuff, in a documentary mode. Pictures of their homes. Their toys. Their art. They post them to share with others who have similar interests. Is this not an okay kind of photography? Is flickr supposed to be a place where only photography-as-craft is featured?

Telling people what and how to share seems to me arbitrary at best.

I also pointed out that I think that when people do a tag search, they are looking for visual content related to that concept. I think they would be upset to know that there might be a lot of content they aren't seeing because the flickr people are deciding what flickr is, rather than letting the users determine the character of the overall collection here.

If flickr is convinced that there are members who abhor the "inconvenience" of having to see illustrations in their search results, perhaps we should have to tag all images as one or the other, and allow a user to select "photos only," "illustrations only," or "photos and illustrations" as acceptable search results.

BTW, I did receive a reply, it was just a reiteration of the guideline.

Then again, I do realize that the founders/managers of flickr do have the right to steer the group in a certain direction. I mean, it's like the groups. I wanted Mid-Century in Print to be an illustration group, not a photography group. So I delete stuff out of here that doesn't have illustrations (unless the typography is insane). It might be said that the members of the group should shape the content. Which would be fine, but then it loses the original reason for creating the group.

So ... Flickr is their big "group" and I s'pose I see that they have the right to restrict what we post, to keep it aligned with their vision. That being said, I know that I believe a more inclusive, broader interpretation of visual comm is more interesting than putting on restrictions. And streamlining this group is different than restricting the entire site ... Like all the groups, it is a way to create a subset of the entire collection of images on flickr, so having restricted posting criteria seems appropriate.

Okay, I'll stop assaulting you with my unfocused, diphenhydramine-fueled ranting.
Yolise Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Yolise (member) 11 years ago
Like I said, though, I believe they are working on filters that will allow non-photographic works to be searched for without impacting on photo searches. I think they simply took the immediate route of focussing on photography because the software wasn't able to filter out non-photographic images.

They don't dislike illustration - they're only trying to be tidy.

FYI, they do reply, but sometimes it takes a couple of days. As far as I'm aware, there is only one girl that responds to support emails. With millions of users, you can understand that she might be a bit overwhelmed at times.
*julia PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by *julia (admin) 11 years ago
Yolise, I disagree. The reply I got was a reiteration of the Guidelines, which is "this is a PHOTOGRAPHY site".

I doubt they would have considered accomodating illustration searches at all if it weren't for the feedback from disgruntled (paying) users.

This is not to say that as individual people they have anything against illustration or illustrators, but that if given a choice, they would keep this particular site photography-only. You may know something we don't - maybe they've reconsidered broadening their vision? - but as far as I know, that's the reason for having a NIPSA response at all.
Paula Wirth PRO 11 years ago
How long did it take you to get a reply to your email to flickr? Just curious...
Yolise 11 years ago
Flicjr have implied publicly that they are going to be implementing new filters to accomodate illustration. I'm not an illustrator, but have an interest in mid-century illustration, so I'm happy about that, but if they didn't want to accommodate that, well, so be it, as far as I'm concerned. I doubt, however, that illustrators provide them with enough income to really matter much in the grand scheme of things.
Paula Wirth PRO 11 years ago
Looks like if I select "may offend" for every non-photo image (and this includes actual *photos* of book covers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) i can be reconsidered. Blah. Do you have any idea how many images that is, and how long that will take one by one???
Paula Wirth PRO 11 years ago
OK, I just finished going through my pools for images to mark as "May Offend" - this included all my ephemera, book covers, illustrations and art I did... most of the photos of book covers were just that, PHOTOS, but I had to mark them as offensive, anyway... Of 3799 photos in my account, I marked around as 1000 as "May offend." So about 1/4 of my images were not "official" photos, as defined by flickr. And yes, you have to do each one seperately, page by page. Uck.
Jeff Heermann 11 years ago
I honestly am wondering if it's worth the bother to petition Flickr to have my NIPSA status of the initial appeals of the site for me was the vast amount of scanned original art & emphemera, and the fact that it was all comingling with people's holiday snaps and photos of their cats.

Worse things have happened to me than having my account labeled as NIPSA, but it does cast a pall over my original enthusiasm for Flickr (and I do feel like the account I paid for has been given a downgrade).
Paula Wirth PRO 11 years ago
Jeff, I know what you mean. I was a total flickr evangelist, and now I am less excited about even uploading pictures. I will continue to use it, but without the enthusiasm I previously exhibited.

In other news:
Paula is PUBLIC again... of course, all 1000 images that were ephemera, are NOT PUBLIC... and I have to continue to use the "may offend" tag for all non-photos...
leifpeng PRO 11 years ago
Hey you two...c'mon... turn that frown upside down! ;-)

Like I said above: I've never searched by tags and yet have found tons of neat stuff and nice folks ( invited many to add their scans to Mid-Cent ) and many more have added me as a contact and continue to do so every day - I mean EVERY day.

Flickr's not perfect but like Luc said, they've accomplished the goal of creating a "photo" sharing site more elegantly and successfully than anybody else.

Hopefully some enlightened higher-ups will come to appreciate that Flickr's users are building something 1000 times better than what they set out to create and the next gen will be more accomodating. :-)
Jeff Heermann 11 years ago
Fair frown is inverted!
leifpeng PRO 11 years ago
AAArrgh! OK, NOW I get it. I'm away overnight at a hotel and checking in on my wife's ibook and it seems that because she doesn't have a flickr account ( i.e. she's therefore a "public searcher") when I go to this group or any other group I've contributed to NONE of my scans are visible.

When I log in suddenly they're back. So this is what being NIPSA'd means...

My question is do my scans appear for everyone in Mid-Century or only my contacts?

Could someone who's not one of my contacts but is a member of the pool let me know?

Secondly, if I spend who knows how many hours labeling my scans "May Offend" will I be un-NIPSA'd or do I still have to launch an appeal before the Flickr Censorship Board?

My smile is currently inverted :-(
Yolise Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Yolise (member) 11 years ago
Everyone in mid-century can see your images. Adding an image to a group pool over-rides NIPSA for the members of that group.

Your contacts who are not a member of the group can not see your photos in the pool, however. Being a contact and NIPSA are not related in any way. Nor does it control whether people can see your images in your photostream.

Not in Public Search Areas means that your images can not be found in tag searches, in Everyone's Photos, by browsing pools that people aren't members of, or appearing in Explore.

The answer to your second question is yes. Un-NIPSAing is a manual process and must be undertaken by Flickr staff.
SuperAdaptoid Posted 11 years ago. Edited by SuperAdaptoid (member) 11 years ago
The first paragraph is pretty clear, Yolise. But after about six tries I'm not sure I understand that second one.
So let's see: group members can see your NIPSA'd images in the pool. Contacts can't unless they're in that group. Anyone can see your NIPSA'd images if they go to your photostream. Is this right?
Jeff Heermann Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Jeff Heermann (member) 11 years ago
Being NIPSA-ed is less of a problem when people navigate around from contact to contact, rather than browsing by tags. People without accounts can still view a NIPSA account if they follow the right path to get there (say, from contact to contact), or if you provide a direct link to the URL.

Edited for clarity.
Paula Wirth PRO Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Paula Wirth (member) 11 years ago
leifpeng, I think, for you, since all your pics are NIPSA, anyway, and you have no images they consider "real" photos (heck of a limiting definition, that), I might not bother. I can tell you from experience, having to mark each and every non-photo "may offend" is a major pain in the buttinsky, and there really isn't an automatic way... I upload my photos using the flickr uploader, and then have to individually visit each and every one, click "may offend", wait for the page to process, and move to the next. Takes blinkin' forever.

The only reason to try to be non-NIPSAed in my opinion, is if you have a ton of "real photos." I had 3/4 "real" photos to 1/4 ephemera... The easier solution is to have an epehemera-only account, and a photo-only account... I may have to do this, when I have 24 bucks to throw away...

Take my advice with a grain of salt, tho... Perform a test using my images in the pool, and logging in as someone not in the group. See if you see my pictures, since they are non-NIPSA, but marked as "may offend." I don't think you will see them either way.


Add an obvious note in the description of your pools - saying that people should join the group in order to see all the images!!!!
Yolise 11 years ago
Yes, SuperAdaptoid, that's correct.
wardomatic Posted 11 years ago. Edited by wardomatic (member) 11 years ago
Paula, I did a global tag search on "dust jacket" while signed in through my wife's Flickr, and your images DID show up.

For the record, I have gone through and found out that non-members cannot see Leif's images in the group pool. Scrubbles, you're tagged, as well.
Rosemary Travale 11 years ago
I think I have been nipsa'ed as well. Ah well. I put in a request to have it taken off. I always log in to check flickr groups though, so I may have had that for a while and just never noticed my photos were missing for those looking while not logged in.
Yolise 11 years ago
Not trying to be contentious or anything, but if one has been on Flickr a long time and never noticed they were NIPSAd, perhaps it's not really a big deal one way or the other?

I suppose it feels like a punishment in a way, but in reality, it's not much of a hardship for most people, no?
leifpeng PRO 11 years ago
I guess you're right, yolise. It does feel a bit like a "you're not welcome here" when you've gone to the trouble of preparing you're images with the hope of sharing them with others, but like I said way, way back at the top of this, the people who really want to find them seem to find them. I'm still hoping the big brains at Flickr eventually see the light, though...
Yolise 11 years ago
I'm pretty sure they will. They've mentioned illustration filters in the help forums.

Anyway, I found this group and I don't have any art to share - I simply enjoy looking at it - so, many thanks from me, at least!
Rosemary Travale 11 years ago
Yeah, Yolise, I suppose being nipsa'ed isn't really that big a deal. I just want to share all my images with people, specifically the stuff I scan for the sole purpose of putting up in communties like retrokid, only to have a difficult time letting everyone enjoy them. It's too bad, but ah well! It's good to hear that flickr is open to possibly looking into illustration sharing and all that.
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