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Getty makes 35 million images free for sharing

A new tool from Getty will let you embed over 35 million photos from its image library for free into social media or blog posts.

Have you ever wanted to share a newsworthy image on a blog or on Facebook, but weren't sure how to credit it?

Licensing issues might not be at the front of your mind when you share a photo, which can lead to inadvertent breaches of copyright. Getty Images is introducing a new feature called Embed that will help end the ambiguity around image sharing for a large portion of its photo catalogue.

As long as it is for a non-commercial purpose, you can share a Getty image on platforms such as a blog, personal website, Facebook or Twitter, with attribution automatically applied. It works like any regular HTML embed code that you may be familiar with, using an iframe integration.

An example of Getty's Embed feature. (Credit: Getty Images)

"What we're trying to do is take a behaviour that already exists and enable it legally, then try to get some benefits back to the photographer primarily through attribution and linkage," said Craig Peters, senior vice president, business development, product and content at Getty Images.

In the past, users have been sharing content through what Peters calls a "right-click and take behaviour", which generally removes the image from its original context if there is no watermark. Through the Embed method, the metadata remains with the image and information is provided for users to click back through to Getty if they want to find out more or to license the image for other purposes.

"I equate this back to when you think about music, back before there was iTunes or Spotify," said Peters, "people were stealing imagery because they didn't have an alternative. Our job here is to provide a better alternative to stealing, not only one that's legal but one that's better. There are no watermarks beyond attribution, and hopefully with the ease of access and the ability to search through our entire archive of imagery, those are things that are actually better off when there's publishers who want to use our content."

At launch there will be in excess of 35 million images available from the most popular areas of Getty's catalogue. "There are certain collections that we don't feel are appropriate for [Embed], but for the majority we come at this saying our imagery is included for Embed. For the most part if it is an image that is available for licensing off of our website, not requiring additional permissions or uses, or not limited in its use cases, we will make that imagery available within the Embed model."

The initial outcome for the Embed model is to help make sharing images easier for the end user, and to maintain attribution for rights holders. But, monetisation is not ruled out in the future.

"Over time there are other monetisation options we can look at," he said. "That could be data options, advertising options. If you look at what YouTube has done with their embed capabilities, they are serving ads in conjunction with those videos that are served around the internet."

Getty's Embed feature is available now at