Getty’s Free Image Program: New Revenue Model, or a Surrender to Copyright Infringement?

Getty Images lit up the Twittersphere today with an announcement that it was making its archive available free of charge for bloggers and other non-commercial users. Some of the big questions are: What is Getty gaining by making images free to the public? How does Getty’s decision affect not only its own contributors, but all photographers? And are there any hidden costs to non-commercial users who take advantage of Getty’s free images?

Getty said in its announcement that it was releasing a new embed tool to make it easy for non-commercial users to share its images on websites, blogs and social media channels.

Getty CEO Jonathan Klein says in the announcement that the “easy, legal sharing…benefits our content contributors and partners.”

One benefit to the company and its partners is that by automatically crediting the images and linking them back to Getty’s website, the embed tool makes it easy to find and license the images for commercial use.

At the same time, the embed tool will also makes it easier for Getty to track non-commercial uses of its images, and the users who take advantage of the company’s offer of free images.

To read what Getty’s terms of service allow it to do with users’ information, and more on the implications of this new business for the perceived value of all images, see our news story, now on PDNOnline.

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5 Responses to “Getty’s Free Image Program: New Revenue Model, or a Surrender to Copyright Infringement?”

  1. AndrewCCM Says:

    This is nothing more than a move to squash any up and coming competition. Many smaller competitors rely on bulk subscriptions to smaller clients to make ends meet. Now with such a system, they are killing the competition and becoming extremely anti-competitive in their corporate philosophy. It really saddens me.

  2. Jo Ann Snover Says:

    This is in my opinion less about dealing with piracy than it is trying to slow or halt the successes Getty’s competition is enjoying – their growth coming at Getty’s expense in the higher-end, corporate licensing of stock.

    If Getty believes they can cut off a big source of revenue from the competition while still retaining what Getty sees as their home turf of high-end licenses, they win – and why would they care about giving away photographers’ work to do it?

    I think they misunderstand their competition and why they’re gaining ground, but I hope Getty doesn’t damage photographers too much as they pursue this cynical scorched earth initiative

  3. Linda Says:

    “Getty” is no longer Getty – it’s an investment firm.
    The reason for “free” photos is that they are trying to kill the business. They want to make it as unprofitable as possible so they can claim the whole thing as a loss and write off millions of dollars.
    Meanwhile people who don’t know any better keep contributing to all the nonsense.

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