You’re about to see a lot more professional-grade photos on Tumblr, Twitter, and WordPress blogs, thanks to Getty Images, which is making images from categories including news, sports and
entertainment available to social media users free of charge.
Basically, the online photo clearinghouse is throwing in the towel on legal efforts to stop unauthorized private use of many
of its images.
The announcement confirms what was already a fait accompli, as Getty’s images were widely available online through search engines like Google Images. All you had
to do was find a non-watermarked version of the image on, say, a newspaper site and copy it for personal use. Of course, Getty still had the right to sue you for unauthorized use, but the sheer scale
of the activity made that a daunting prospect, if for no other reason than the legal fees.
Now private, non-commercial users who visit Getty Images can just click on they want to
share and click the “embed” option, which will pop up a special window containing the code. Then it’s just a simple matter of copying that code to the source code for their own blog
or social media profile. And voila: free professional images!
There are still plenty of legal limits on what you can do with the images, as you might expect.
sponsorship… in violation of any stated restriction… in a defamatory, pornographic or otherwise unlawful manner… or… outside of the context of the Embedded
So what does Getty get out of it? Increased exposure, for one thing. All photos link to Getty Images, in case someone wants to buy one for commercial use. Getty also
reserves the right to collect data about how the images are being used, which could enable the company to identify trends and market images to commercial users more effectively.
Images co-founder and CEO Jonathan Klein stated: “Innovation and disruption are the foundation of Getty Images, and we are excited to open up our vast and growing image collection for easy,
legal sharing in a new way that benefits our content contributors and partners, and advances our core mission to enable a more visually rich world.”