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Getty Gives Bloggers Free Access To 35 Million Images

Mar 6 2014, 11:06am CST | by

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Getty Gives Bloggers Free Access To 35 Million Images

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Getty Gives Bloggers Free Access To 35 Million Images

Aware that its pictures are being widely used without payment, Getty Images has taken the unusual step of making millions of them free for non-commercial use.

Using a new embed tool, users can from today drop an image into their blog or social media feed, where it appears with a footer crediting Getty and linking to the company’s licensing page.

The company seems to be taking the line of “If you can’t beat them, join them,” aware that its images are frequently copied-and-pasted without any attribution or payment anyway.

“What we’ve seen is a significant amount of infringement online in an area, unfortunately, that we can’t control because this is how the internet has developed,” Craig Peters, senior vice president of business development, content and marketing at Getty Images, tells the British Journal of Photography.

“What we’re trying to do here is to put a legal method in place for that to happen and that actually benefits our content owners.”

Getty isn’t making its whole collection available for free – but there’s still a lot to choose from. They tend towards stock photos, but also include many news pictures and a huge number of sports images.

A big question for many will be what Getty defines as non-commercial use – but it appears to be taking a generous line. It’s happy for its images to be used by blogs that make money from Google Ads, and for general editorial use; what it won’t stand is seeing its images used for advertising of any sort or in a defamatory or pornographic manner.

The move, of course, is set to be popular with bloggers. All the user needs to do is visit, hover over an image in the search results or on the image detail page, and click the embed icon (< / >). The embedded images will appear on the user’s page, while being hosted on the site.

“This new Getty Images embed capability will open users up to a huge new creative repository in a simple, legal way,” says Raanan Bar-Cohen, senior vice president of commercial services at Automattic, the company behind WordPress. “We look forward to seeing all the amazing ways that our users can take advantage of this new access.”

Photographers, though, may be less keen. When Getty partnered with Pinterest last October, Pinterest agreed to pay Getty a fee in exchange for metadata – fees that are then shared with its contributors. This time, though, there’s no money in it for photographers, and no ability to opt out.

There will, though, be money in it for Getty. Since acquiring PicScout in 2011, the company had the ability to track the use of its images across the internet. As with its deal with Pinterest, it can use the embed tool to collect valuable user data; and, like YouTube, it could start placing targeted ads within the embed.

As its terms and conditions read: “Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you.”

The question is whether, if the company does go ahead with ads, it will then share the proceeds; and there’s certainly no indication at this stage that that will be the case. Presumably, it’s not yet placing ads in embeds because it hasn’t collected enough data to make it worthwhile for advertisers, and it may be that it plans to share when ads to start to appear.

But in the meantime, it risks antagonizing photographers: it’s bad enough to see your work copied without payment by bloggers, without your biggest client encouraging them.

Source: Forbes


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