Whether it’s @HistoryinPics or just an Imgur-hosted picture posted to Reddit, professional photos are being used everywhere on the internet — and usually without payment or credit to the original owner. Getty Images licenses out stock photos (including coverage of sports, news and fashion events) for use by the media (cough), businesses and artists, and now it’s hoping to get some control back, by letting anyone use them for free. Free that is, as long as they’re posted with Getty’s new embed feature which, like the ones we’ve gotten used to onFlickr, YouTube and other internet sites, produces the appropriate HTML to pop the picture in a blog or social media post.
At launch, it’s specifically designed to tie in with sites like WordPress and Tumblr, and on Twitter, links produce a card with the image and information. The pictures won’t be watermarked, but it also links back to Gettyimages.com and includes attribution for the photographer. It seems like a win-win for everyone, and an admission by Getty that simply trying to paywall access to high quality pics won’t keep them from being posted everywhere anyway. Meanwhile, everyone from casual tweeters to those starting great websites for the next ten years just getting their start can access high quality photos without worrying about scary legal letters or getting their account shut down.
According to CNET, Getty has opened up 35-million images for free use. When you randomly go through images and look for the embed button, though, there seems to be — at least for the moment — more misses than hits. Also, while I don’t mind that clicking on the image directs you to Getty’s site, I’m not crazy about the giant Getty tag under the image. But free is free.
(That’s was a result in a Getty stock image search for “unimpressed.”)