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You Can Now Freely Embed Getty Images Online Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

6 March 2014

We're a little slow with our Getty story because we spent so long looking for an appropriate image we could embed in this story. And if, through no fault of our own, what you see is not what we selected, you know who to blame: Getty Images.

The Getty itself didn't send out a release but The British Journal of Photography published the story as Getty Images makes 35 million images free in fight against copyright infringement.

Responding to the growing unauthorized use of its images, Getty Images decided to provide the "the ability to embed our images freely for non-commercial use online," according to Craig Peters, senior vice president of business development.


So millions of bloggers can now embed Getty Images as easily as YouTube videos. But what does Getty Images and the photographers get? Three things, Peters said:

  1. Proper attribution of that image.
  2. All the images link back Getty Images and directly to the image's details page for commercial licensing of the image.
  3. Since all the images are served by Getty Images, it knows who and how that image is being used and viewed and may collect that data.

The attribution can be seen under the image above, which makes it a problem for publications like ours that use a particular style to display images. Our caption below their attribution looks disjointed.

And resizing the image is problematic, too, although you change the height and width values of the img tag.


The commercial use restriction is being broadly interpreted to exclude editorial use. Peters said, "What would limit that use is if [a blogger] used our imagery to promote a service, a product or their business. They would need to get a license."

The Getty Images terms of service explain:

You may only use embedded Getty Images Content for editorial purposes (meaning relating to events that are newsworthy or of public interest). Embedded Getty Images Content may not be used: (a) for any commercial purpose (for example, in advertising, promotions or merchandising) or to suggest endorsement or sponsorship; (b) in violation of any stated restriction; (c) in a defamatory, pornographic or otherwise unlawful manner; or (d) outside of the context of the Embedded Viewer.


As The Nieman Journalism Lab pointed out in Getty Images blows the Web's mind by setting 35 million photos free (with conditions, of course), "Not every image you'll find on Getty can be embedded, and from my initial searches, the share of editorial/news images available seems much smaller than the share of traditional stock photos."

That's what took us so long. We found images we might have used but they weren't embeddable. Finding an embeddable image requires hovering over it to see if the </> symbol is there.


Although Peters didn't mention it in the BJP story, Getty Images "reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you," according to the terms of service.

And they can turn that on at any time.


Speculation is that this will have a dramatic effect on stock photography but it's unlikely that current ustomers of stock photography will find embedding Getty Images a compelling option. This is focused more on the many people who pilfer Getty Images photos, hoping they'll now identify themselves to Getty in return for the free use of some images.

We'll see about that.

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