Getty Images ups its game in the collaborative economy

A picture is worth a thousand words, the saying goes. For anyone publishing content online, an image is becoming ever more valuable as an inclusive element in story-telling that can enrich your story and help it get attention.

Did the picture you see above get your attention?

It’s embedded from the Getty Images website under a new deal from Getty that enables anyone – from a website publisher, editor and writer like me running this WordPress blog to a mainstream medium employing thousands of professional editors, journalists and photographers – to use some of the photos and other images that have traditionally been available only under a restrictive licensing agreement and for payment of a usage fee.

Now, Getty will let you embed certain images for free when used for non-commercial purposes. You can choose from 35 million images in Getty’s overall image collection

The picture above – of a Boxer dog looking out from its kennel on the first day of the 2014 Crufts dog show at the NEC in Birmingham – is one of the many news, entertainment and events photos available under this new deal that Getty announced on March 6.

As for why Getty is doing this, BBC News reports that Getty made the move after realising thousands of its images were being used without attribution.

“Our content was everywhere already,” said Craig Peters, a business development executive at the Seattle-based company.

“If you want to get a Getty image today, you can find it without a watermark very simply,” he added.

“The way you do that is you go to one of our customer sites and you right-click. Or you go to Google Image search or Bing Image Search and you get it there. And that’s what’s happening.”

It’s interesting how media reports like the BBC’s view this as a defeat for Getty:

[…] In essence, [Getty] is admitting defeat. By offering the ability to embed photos, Getty is saying it cannot effectively police the use of its images in every nook and cranny of the internet.

I’d see it differently.

While the factual aspect of what the BBC says is true – undoubtedly, no one can exert control in “every nook and cranny of the internet” – it presents Getty with a great opportunity to extend its reach across the social web by enabling anyone to legitimately use images, that include links to Getty’s website.

It’s also clearly aimed at encouraging responsible use of digital content, attribution and linking.

But it’s also likely that it will open doors to more random sharing of content that you can’t control – for instance, look what you might see if you hover your mouse over the Getty embedded image above: a Pinterest ‘pin it’ button that lets you add that image directly from this website to Pinterest. No link to Getty, no control – but further exposure. That button is automatically shown if you have the Pinterest extension in your browser.

Still, it looks to me that Getty Images are embracing the embryonic collaborative economy with this move as a parallel model to its traditional licensing business. And remember, this open sharing only applies to non-commercial use – if you want a Getty image for your corporate brochure, website, TV station or what have you, you have to pay. See also what Getty did a while ago with images on Flickr.

How do you use a Getty image under this new embed deal?

Once you’ve opened an account at Getty – there’s no cost – the steps are simple:

  1. Click an image’s embed icon (</>) from the search results or image detail page.
  2. In the embed window, copy the embed code.
  3. Paste the HTML code you copied into the source code of a website or blog where you want this image to appear.
  4. Publish and share!

gettyembededimages

(Via The Verge)

See also:

Getty Images blows the web’s mind by setting 35 million photos free (with conditions, of course) – a good assessment by Joshua Benton of Nieman Journalism Lab. Of note:

[…] 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. But there are two other things Getty gets, according to the terms:

“Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you.”

Getty Images makes 35 million images free in fight against copyright infringement – detailed description by Olivier Laurent of the British Journal of Photography, with quoted explanations from Getty. Of note:

“What we’ve decided to do is to provide through the embed player the capability to use this imagery, but there’s a value for Getty Images and the content owners,” says [Craig] Peters, [senior vice president of business development, content and marketing at Getty Images]. “And that value is in three parts. First, there will be attribution around that image, and since we’re serving the image, we’re actually going to make sure there’s proper attribution. Second, all of the images will link back to our site and directly to the image’s details page. So anybody that has a valid commercial need for that image will be able to license that imagery from our website. Third, since all the images are served by Getty Images, we’ll have access to the information on who and how that image is being used and viewed, and we’ll reserve the right to utilise that data to the benefit of our business.”