The new initiative hinges on an embedded player similar to that of YouTube. Simply visit Getty Images’ library, search for a photo, look for the </> symbol to identify embeddable photos, then copy the code to the HTML of your own site. Getty sends the image in an embedded player, including the photo’s full copyright information and a link back to the licensing page on Getty’s website.
“Images are the communication medium of today and imagery has become the world’s most spoken language,” said Getty Images co-founder and CEO Jonathan Klein in the British Journal of Photography. “Whether via a blog, a website or social media, everyone is a publisher and increasingly visually literate.”
So if it can (a) get some people to use an embed instead of stealing while (b) making the experience just clunky enough that paying customers won’t want to use it, Getty could eke out a net win. (More on that second point below.)
What does Getty get from the embed? Better branding, for one — the Getty name all over the web. Better sharing, for another — if you click the Twitter or Tumblr buttons under the photos, the link goes to Getty, not to the publisher’s site."
If you want to take advantage of the sudden boost in the quality of your photographic resources, here are some points to remember:
- The images are low-resolution, meant for online sharing, and are not print quality.
- Getty’s images still are copyright-protected. What’s “free” is not the photo content itself, but rather a license to use it in certain contexts. Getty retains all intellectual property rights.
- Free images may be used only for non-commercial purposes - but defining what is commercial and what is not historically has been tricky.
“We would not consider this commercial use,” Peters told the British Journal of Photography. “The fact today that a website is generating revenue would not limit the use of the embed. What would limit that use is if they used our imagery to promote a service, a product or their business." To use Getty photos in such advertising, he said, companies would need to get a license.