Getty Images For Free? Not So Fast!

Say what? I can now use Getty images without paying? Well, kind of. Getty Images recently announced a major change, now allowing people to embed Getty images on blogs and social media for non-commercial purposes. So if that applies to you, you’re in luck – but it doesn’t come without a catch.

In the past, people have copied and used Getty Images without paying, with the only real consequence being the fear of the “cease and desist” letter that might arrive if you were found out. To clarify, most cases were probably not ill-intentioned. People were just unaware that they were using a copyrighted image, just taking whatever popped up first on a Google image search.

In any case, this move marks an interesting strategy change for Getty. Since it can’t possibly monitor everyone that is taking the images illegally, why not let people have the images if it means a potential new source of revenue from tracking and advertising? The embedded images will contain information about the photographer, how to purchase the images and even may include advertisements. The downside, however, is that you are allowing Getty some control over your website, similar to the ads on YouTube. Getty is still figuring out the exact specifics of how things will play out, but it figures that gaining some new revenue is better than fighting an uphill battle on a case by case basis.

Again, the new change is only for non-commercial uses. For business, you still have to pay. But for the average blogger or social media poster, a whole new world of quality images is now available, without having to worry about breaking any copyright laws (which apparently weren’t a huge deterrent anyway, with tens of millions of images being shared without a legal license). For Getty, I guess if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

“There are two ways to look at the world,” he says. “People sharing content without a license is an issue—or it’s an opportunity.” -Craig Peters, Senior VP at Getty

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Published March 6, 2014 by Luke Severn.
Categories: Social Media, Visual Content