Flickr bans Flickrdown

So a couple of days ago Flickr decided to ban Flickrdown. The issue is that some people complained that you could use Flickrdown to download copyrighted images. Of course you can do the same thing from any browser. Right click an image in Flickr and pick “Save Image As…” Why these people feel Flickrdown should be banned but not also want browsers banned doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

It’s frustrating that Flickr decided to ban it. Just because images are copyrighted does not mean you can’t copy them. How does Flickr know that I didn’t ask for permission from the author and am just using Flickrdown as a tool to get the images? In fact if Flickrdown couldn’t download copyrighted images it couldn’t download any of my or my friends images as most of them are copyrighted. Kind of stupid if I can’t download my own images and yet that’s the way Flickr wants me to make Flickrdown function.

Please contact Flickr and or techcrunch or anyone else that you think can bring some pressure on Flickr to stop this policy.

  • ryan g

    Dude, this really sucks, i LOVE flickrdown, i thought it was an issue w/ my computer. Now I have to waste so much time downloading. r.i.p. flickrdown!!

  • I hopped on to the site hoping that you had created a new version of Flickr Down and that it wasn’t an app ban. I was disappointed to hear that Flickr made the choice of banning your app. I only used Flickr down to download my photos and not other people’s photos and observed all copyright rules.

    Needless to say, I am the process of downloading my pictures manually and will be cancelling my paid Flickr account when it comes up for renewal this summer.

  • Jake

    Disappointed to see that Flickrdown’s API key has been pulled. The problem is that many Flickr users are paranoid about their photos being “stolen” so they pressure Flickr to ban downloaders and make it impossible to copy them. Of course, neither is possible, but Flickr does provide some tools to users to restrict downloads. For example, there’s a setting called “Who can download my photos.” Flickr would like downloader apps to only download photos when the photographer has indicated that they allow anyone access to the pics.

    I think Flickr would reinstate the API key if you checked the photographer’s “who can download” setting and respected that choice. Hopefully this gets fixed soon, as I’ve recommended it to many friends. But I’m about 99% certain, sadly, that Flickr won’t lift the ban until you make changes like those.

  • It’s not that simple.

    1) It’s hypocritical to ban an app that does the same thing as the browser. The browser downloads copyrighted images. The app downloads copyrighted images. Either ban both or neither. Flickrdown does nothing that can’t be done manually with a browser.

    2) All my personal use cases would no longer work if I added those restrictions.

    It’s pretty simple for them to fix it on their side. All they have to do is check the restrictions and not return results for those images which are not supposed to be accessible.

  • brangeon

    I used flickrdown in France to download pictures which are uploaded by my son in Canada, for the benefits of an association Peuple loup.
    Each time my son visits a specific zone in James bay he posted pictures in Flickr (a lot) so now I have to download these pictures one at a time, it is not so fun.
    All Peuple loup pictures are specified as licence free, so we are not outlaw when we download such pictures
    I hope Flickr resume key for your API, which is very useful for us but also for many other people.

  • Yeah, very frustrating… and I really only use FlickrDown to download my OWN image sets. I give myself permission, if anyone is listening. *rolling eyes*

    Thanks for making the app though… it’s come in handy many times. Hopefully it’ll be back working soon.

  • Jake


    You may be absolutely right. But I’m just telling you the way things are… I’ve seen enough of these cases that I know what Flickr’s position is. While they could not return the large size for those restricting their downloads, that would break hundreds of other Flickr apps that rely on access to the large sizes, and might not be done so easily.

    I think it sucks Flickr pulled your key. I don’t think any amount of protest is going to bring it back. But they will reinstate your API key if you prevent mass downloads from photographers that have opted to “prevent” downloads.

  • I had the same issue with Bulkr. Flickr did ban the API key. But that was after a lot of Flickr users complain about the app. I don’t think Flickr themselves are after your app. May be yes, but you don’t want to be messing around with Flickr folks and letting others download their photos, copyrighted or not! Things go sour pretty fast and Flickr will get lots of complain emails.

    But to comply with Flickr I have made necessary changes and Copyrighted images can no longer is downloaded by anyone. This has limited the app’s feature, but at least the app is no longer banned.

  • paul

    why don’t you open source it, or make it so people can use the app with their own API key. it’s simple enough to apply for one.

  • Matt

    Yeah go for it, make it opensource! There will be a million versions of it then 😉

  • It already is open source and has been since it started.

  • Barry

    Have a look at the garbage flickr posted here:

    I will NOT be renewing my Flickr pro membership, and am in the process of moving to another provider.

  • shu

    You’ve been featured in Ars Technica! They didn’t mentioned the part about it being banned now, but since it links to the app page, maybe Flickr will get more complaints!

  • cybersole55

    It’s a shame, I lost all my photos to a virus and found Flickrdown and was able to download most of my photos but missed a few and now I cannot due to Flickr dropping it’s API key. I will drop my Pro account when it comes due and in the meantime continue backing up elsewhere and search for an other community board to post onto.

  • This sucks, big time.
    I was using Flickrdown to backup my own pictures on Flickr, never even considered downloading others.
    How do people backup their pics on Flickr now?

  • Thomas J Bettler

    I used Flickrdown for the same reason as Paul Shadwell. I’ll complain to Flickr. I test Flickrdown ever so ofter. ‘Hope springs eternal.’

  • Jason

    Upon looking for a batch download tool I initially came across Flickrdown and was disappointed it was banned, but I then searched around some more and found ‘Bulkr’ ( Someone in this thread mentioned it didn’t work for them, but it worked fine for me.

    It may only work for your own photostream (that’s all I needed to do for my 500 or so photos), but it does work …and it allows you to download on a per album/set basis if desired. Check it out.

    Gman, hopefully they lift the BS ban.

  • Gavin Goodhart

    So I have been using FlicrDown for years and am absolutely aghast at the thought I no longer can use it. If you were to add in requiring password access would you be able to reinstate it?

  • Anis

    It should not be……… How we will get back our own photos?

  • I haven’t tried using flickrdown, but from all the comments and what you shared, it seems that it’s a nice application.