Flickr's new Uploadr

Serendipity. I'll put it down to serendipity.

Only yesterday I was uploading some photos to Flickr and lamenting a) how slow it was (but being marooned in a north Perth suburb might have something to do with that); b) that my images didn't appear in the order that I selected them, which would mean a trip to the set editing function when they'd finally crawled their way onto Flickr's servers; and c) that everything would be appearing in my photostream before I'd had the opportunity to organise them, tag them, change the titles (rarely do I call something in my files the same as it's titled on Flickr), and all of the other bits and pieces that I do with my photos.

Low and behold I awake this morning to find that Flickr has just announced a brand new shiny Uploadr.

By the wonder that is HTML5, you will now be able to drag-and-drop your images into the Uploadr, see thumbnail previews, and then reorder your pictures before they see the light of day in your photostream. There's also the ability to zoom, rotate, or sort your photos by title.

That bundle responded to one of my most serious gripes and in all honesty I would have been content knowing that the Flickr-dudes are doing some actually useful product development, rather than just treading water or silly stuff, but there's more. Tagging, arranging into sets, and identifying people in your photos can all be done from the Uploadr, and so can amending your licensing options and a few other bits of advanced jiggery-pokery.

Files sizes have now been increased to a whopping 50MB for Pro subscribers and 30MB for free users. Everything should also be uploading faster. I'll reserve judgement on that, but it's good to know.

Flickr has promised even more new features that it'll be rolling out soon. No word on what they are yet, but some actual movement with the product is at least a little promising after all those lay-offs at Yahoo! and some really dud introductions over the past few years.

As ever with Flickr, not everyone will have access to these new toys immediately; they'll be rolled out over the coming weeks. I'm looking forward to trying them!

Stop43's IP management ideas

White rose

Stop43, the dudes who took on the Government over the clause 43 of the Digital Economy Bill (the one that would’ve effectively stripped photographers of their rights to their images that were deemed ‘orphan works’), and won, have submitted their proposal to Professor Ian Hargreaves’ consultation on intellectual property. Of course, it focuses mostly on the concept of ‘orphan works’, but it has some pretty interesting things to say.

The idea is to create a free, online machine-searchable metadata registry. They’re calling it a National Cultural Archive. This archive will make work freely available to people for ‘cultural use’, allow ‘orphaned works’ to be re-adopted by their owners, act as a mechanism to aid copyright enforcement, and help people buy and sell licences to use images.

‘But if it’s a free system,’ I can hear you murmuring, ‘how would it be supported?’ They’re proposing a levy system on the sale of licences that it facilitates. It’d be self-supporting, then. They also reckon it’d be easy to set up and are keen to build a model. Easy to set up, if they manage to get people on-side with it.

They’ve also made suggestions that would help to allow the re-formating of work that would otherwise be lost entirely because it’s on decaying traditional media and it can’t be digitised without breaching copyright. That’s pretty important, considering how much crumbling paper and deteriorating tape is sitting in museums and libraries across the country, with no way of legally salvaging it.

They’ve really tapped into the business theme of the consultation, though. They’re very keen to point out how properly attributed work and the sale of licences will contribute to increased tax receipts for the Government and help to drive economic growth. Reckon anyone will listen?

Stop43′s National Cultural Archive: a one-stop shop for all your image licensing needs.

New from Blurb for 2011

Screen shot 2011-01-20 at 10.44.13

The dudes over at Blurb (you know, who let you print your own books) had a rather busy 2010. Amongst quite a few things, they delivered over 1.4 million books for their customers (which by my very dodgy maths and making a few assumptions, is not quite enough to reach the moon, but it’s still A Lot), ran pop-up shops in London and New York, launched Blurb en Francais, and made it even easier for people to make books. It doesn’t look as if they’ll be sitting on their laurels in 2011, though.

They’re still keeping a few tricks up their sleeves, but Blurb highlights for 2011 will include:

  • The ability to publish for iPads, or whichever other tablet device rocks your world
  • A new bespoke service, offering swanky papers, end sheets, and cover materials, for people looking for Very Posh Books
  • Offering everything that they do… in German
  • An increase in their online distribution outlets, so you might be able to sell a few more copies
  • The Blurb Academy (or something like it) will be taking to the road
  • And you might even see them on TV or in a magazine.

If you’re interested in putting together your own photobook, you could do worse than see what Blurb has to offer.