Image sharing on social media has allowed a never-ending stream of content to flow through the web, with photographers often losing out on receiving proper credit for their work. Getty Images has recently responded to this trend by removing the licensing watermark on many of their images intended for use on non-commercial websites and blogs. Instead, taking a nod from the music industry and audio distribution sites like Soundcloud, they have attached an embed link. This allows the photos to be shared without cost to the user, which is great for non-profits. Getty will now attach a footer at the bottom of the image with attribution and a link to the licensing page.
According to an article written by Russell Brandom at The Verve, it’s a bold move for the company, but Getty execs say their images were often being illegally shared on Twitter and other social media sites anyway. With users not directly profiting from their use, there seems little point to go after the Twitter user sharing an image he or she found to be interesting.
Getty hopes that if there is a legal, free way to circulate images, then users will choose this path rather than right-clicking or taking a screenshot of a licensed image, and bypassing payment. This tactic will still allow Getty to make a profit, as in the future, they can use the embedded links to plant ads or collect user info for data purposes. While there is the question of long-term effects of “link rot”, a process where hyperlinks point to sources that have been deleted or have become unavailable, Getty feels infringement is a more pressing issue at this time. At least this way attribution goes back to those who stand to lose the most from image sharing, the photographers.
So what does this mean for your non-profit? Well, a whole world of beautiful imagery has opened up, and you can now share it legally. To learn more about how to embed stunning images taken by professional photographers for free, please visit Getty’s Embed Link Instructional page.
— Alexandra Gunnoe, Program Specialist