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Getty Images makes 35 million photos usable for free with new embed tool

Getty Images is taking a new direction when it comes to the use of its iconic photography across the Internet, and instead of legally hounding blogs who “borrow” its snaps without permission, Getty is going to make them usable for free.

The company is launching a new embed tool which will let websites officially use the 35 million or so photos that comprise its large library. No licensing fee will need to be paid, as was previously the case.

Of course, the whole problem with the license fee was that the vast majority didn’t pay it, and this new embedding system is an admission of what we all already know – that it’s impossible to police the entire Internet when it comes to copyright.

The embed process works exactly as it does with YouTube videos (and many other videos/pics online) – you just click the embed icon, copy and paste the code, and you’re done.

Getty Images notes on its site: “Getty Images is leading the way in creating a more visual world. Our new embed feature makes it easy, legal and free for anybody to share our images on websites, blogs and social media platforms.”

This is essentially an effort to find a new way of bringing money in, given that the old license fee obviously wasn’t working too well.

According to C-net (opens in new tab), Craig Peters, senior VP of business development, product and content at Getty Images, said: “What we're trying to do is take a behaviour that already exists and enable it legally, then try to get some benefits back to the photographer primarily through attribution and linkage.”

He added: “Over time there are other monetisation options we can look at. That could be data options, advertising options. If you look at what YouTube has done with their embed capabilities, they are serving ads in conjunction with those videos that are served around the Internet."

Darren Allan
Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.