Free Stock Photos for “Everyone”

Getty Images launched a new Embed Images tool to allow millions of bloggers around the world the ability to use amazing stock imagery for free for “non-commercial” use. In the words of Getty executive Craig Peters, “What we’re trying to do is take a behavior that already exists and enable it legally, then try to get some benefits back to the photographer primarily through attribution and linkage.”

That means I can now legally use a photo of Jennifer Lawrence and Matthew McConaughey at the Oscars, a photo that before could have cost me a pretty penny.

I’ve actually thought this concept was a great idea for stock photography companies for some time. The idea came to me after seeing how YouTube videos could be easily embedded anywhere, providing users with a massive library of video content, and providing YouTube with a massive stream of users. For stock photography companies this just makes sense – the bloggers who now have access to these images weren’t ever going to buy them, so Getty hasn’t lost a revenue stream. What they’ve gained is millions upon millions of new eyes on their content, people who potentially will buy images for other uses that are still sold for a premium.

The catch, of course, is going to be what constitutes “non-commercial” use. Again quoting Peters, “the fact […] that a website is generating revenue would not limit the use of the embed. What would limit that use is if they used our imagery to promote a service, a product or their business.” I suppose in the days ahead we will discover more of what it means to “promote a service, a product or their business.”

I wonder how the Getty contributors feel about their images suddenly being made available to the masses for free. How would you feel if Getty represented your life’s work and your income was now suddenly in jeopardy? Do you think this is a good move for the stock photography industry? Let me know below!

 

 

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