Founded in 1997, Getty Images has made a business out of licensing stock photography to web sites. But, in recent years, the company has struggled, facing stiffer competition from other companies …. and from online piracy. Quoted in the British Journal of Photography, Craig Peters, a Senior VP at Getty Images, observes that Getty is “really starting to see the extent of online infringement. In essence, everybody today is a publisher thanks to social media and self-publishing platforms. And it’s incredibly easy to find content online and simply right-click to utilise it.” All of this becomes a problem, for Getty, when cash-strapped “self publishers, who typically don’t know anything about copyright and licensing,” start right clicking and using the company’s images without attribution or payment.
Fighting a losing battle against infringers, Getty Images surprised consumers and competitors yesterday when it announced that it would make 35 million images free for publishers to use, with a few strings attached. Publishers, broadly defined, are now allowed to add certain Getty images to their sites, on the condition that they use embed code provided by the company. That embed code (find instructions here) will ensure that “there will be attribution around that image,” that “images will link back to [Getty's] site and directly to the image’s details page,” and that Getty will receive information on how the images are being used and viewed.
Not every Getty image can be embedded — only 35,000,000 of the 80,000,000 images in Getty’s archive. And, to be sure, many of those 35 million Getty images are stock photos that will leave you uninspired. But if you’re willing to sift patiently through the collection, you can find some gems, like the shots featured above of some great jazz legends — Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and John Coltrane.
If you’re interested in rummaging through free images from museums and libraries, don’t miss our recent post: Where to Find Free Art Images & Books from Great Museums, and Free Books from University Presses.