Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Getty Images is making most of its picture library free to use

Getty Images, the world's largest and inarguably one of the best photo services, particularly for historical photos, is making most of its picture library free to use. The images were previously watermarked and you had to pay to get the watermark removed; now, a magazine or a blog could use the images without watermark, providing they agree to appending a credit and link to the licensing page. 

Howcum? Well, according to a story on The Verge
"Look, if you want to get a Getty image today, you can get it without a watermark very simply," says Craig Peters, a business development executive at Getty. The way you do that is to go to one of our customer sites and you right-click. Or you go to Google image search or Bing Image Search and you get it there. And that's what's happening...Our content is everywhere already."
Essentially, Getty is acknowledging reality and gambling that the embed program will give it much more control, meaning it could insert ads or collect user information. Getty still actually makes money on its sales, mostly through digital licensing. But it is accepting that a lot of small, lower-end sites can't or won't pay, but will use pictures anyway.
"Peters' bet is that if web publishers have a legal, free path to use the images, they'll take it, opening up a new revenue stream for Getty and photographers....
"The principle is to turn what's infringing use with good intentions, turning that into something that's valid licensed use with some benefits going back to the photographer," says Peters, "and that starts really with attribution and a linkback."

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