Millions Of Getty Images Now Freely Available For Personal use
March 6, 2014

Millions Of Getty Images Now Freely Available For Personal Use

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Acknowledging that people are routinely stealing its images on the internet anyway, Getty Images has debuted a new Embed tool that will allow anyone to post one of its photographs to a website or social media – as long as it’s for noncommercial purposes.

"What we're trying to do is take a behavior that already exists and enable it legally, then try to get some benefits back to the photographer primarily through attribution and linkage," Craig Peters, senior vice president, business development, product and content at Getty Images told CNET Australia.

For years, users have been sharing licensed content through what Peters describes as a "right-click and take behavior", which frequently removes the image data and repurposes the picture if there is no watermark. Through the new Embed tool, the metadata remains with the image and information is provided for users to click back to Getty if they wish to learn more or if they want to license the picture for other purposes.

"I equate this back to when you think about music, back before there was iTunes or Spotify," Peters said, "people were stealing imagery because they didn't have an alternative.”

“Our job here is to provide a better alternative to stealing, not only one that's legal but one that's better,” he continued. “There are no watermarks beyond attribution, and hopefully with the ease of access and the ability to search through our entire archive of imagery, those are things that are actually better off when there's publishers who want to use our content."

The company said the new tool will make 35 million images immediately available for personal use.

"There are certain collections that we don't feel are appropriate for (Embed), but for the majority we come at this saying our imagery is included for Embed,” Peters said. “For the most part if it is an image that is available for licensing off of our website, not requiring additional permissions or uses, or not limited in its use cases, we will make that imagery available within the Embed model."

While Getty is currently looking only to keep metadata and attribution linked in its photos, the company hasn’t ruled out monetization of the Embed tool in the future.

"Over time there are other monetization options we can look at," Peters said. "That could be data options, advertising options. If you look at what YouTube has done with their embed capabilities, they are serving ads in conjunction with those videos that are served around the internet."

The new tool somewhat resembles Connect – a tool which was made available exclusively for Getty clients in 2012. That tool allowed a Getty client to have the company’s catalog of photos embedded directly into their own content management system.

"The client doesn't need to store millions of images on their side of things, they don't have to worry about what's the most recent image, so they're grabbing content immediately as it's available,” Peters said at the time. “So if they're writing a very timely story about the riots in the Middle East, or they're writing a story about anything topical like sports or entertainment, that content's available anywhere."