Getty Images Admits It Can't Stop Internet Sharing, Opens Up Its Photos For Free
If you go to the Getty Images website, you'll see millions of images, all watermarked. There are more than a hundred years of photography here, from FDR on the campaign trail to last Sunday's Oscars, all stamped with the same transparent square placard reminding you that you don't own the rights. If you want Getty to take off the watermark, you'll have to pay for it.
Starting now, that's going to change. Getty Images is dropping the watermark for the bulk of its collection, in exchange for an open-embed program that will let users drop in any image they want, as long as the service gets to append a footer at the bottom of the picture with a credit and link to the licensing page. For a small-scale WordPress blog with no photo budget, this looks an awful lot like free stock imagery.
It's a real risk for the company, since it's easy to screenshot the new versions if you want to snag an unlicensed version. But according to Craig Peters, a business development exec at Getty Images, that ship sailed long ago. "Look, if you want to get a Getty image today, you can find it without a watermark very simply," he says. "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… Our content was everywhere already."
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