Here's the deal.
I started with flickr seven years ago and have really enjoyed the supportive community, and have learned a lot. I have met some wonderful people, some in person. There were a few bad eggs but I dealt with them; the bloggers were pretty cool about giving credit and I supported that. Some asked for high-res images and I gently turned them down; only a few were jerks about hearing 'no, sorry'. All in all, the experience has been well worth my time and a few dollars per year.
Yahoo recently changed flickr without (apparently) checking with the serious users and that has been frustrating. And it's pretty clear they're not too interested in people like me as their main user base. That's their choice, but it's also frustrating. But those are secondary.
The biggest change I've seen recently -- and the one that prompted this image swap -- is the big increase in tumblr and Facebook use and misuse of images, and seeing the hosting venues not doing anything substantial to minimize that. There is no longer a sense of community in image sharing, just creators vs. consumers, and so far the consumers are winning. Tumblr acts as an IP laundering system, effectively removing any trace of the image creator and making it all too easy for people to grab images and pretend they're free, pretend they did the work, gather up all the attention and praise and what else comes with that. This isn't a community and it sure isn't sharing -- it's a one way street headed away from the creative source, and they're driving faster than ever.
Yahoo could get ahead of the curve on this and at least connect flickr and tumblr in a way that makes the history of any image clear and easy to obtain, and lets the flickr users see who is using their work and what the feedback is. They might work on clarification of user rights, approved uses and even micropayments for use (where applicable). They could turn it into the best place for serious image creators to hang out, with greater incentive to share great shots. But so far I haven't seen or heard of any such intent.
So this is my local micro-boycott of image abusers. I will periodically add other popular shots to the set as long as the abuse keeps happening. I hope to return them to normal status eventually but that may never happen.
I hate doing this to the flickr folks who have been so supportive, but I can't think of a more subtle approach that would get the message across to the abusers. I realize this may have very little impact but after seeing yet another person claim to have put in all the time and effort and money shooting one of my better shots, I had to do something. I suspect some of you on flickr have experienced similar issues and hope that most of you will understand.
I'll be on flickr for some time but things have changed too drastically for me to ignore them any more. And I need to be working on a better venue for sharing these anyway. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this, and if you come up with a better fix or protest I'm happy to listen.
==== Update, Jan 2014 =============
I decided to revert the shot to normal and add the watermark. We'll see if people will work with that and keep the connection back to me. Here's hoping.