Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Getty Images makes much of its photo portfolio free to use

Image service makes more than 35 million photos available for noncommercial use via a new HTML embed tool.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
2 min read
Getty Images' new embed tool. Getty Images

Getty Images, the premiere collection of professional quality photos on the Internet, has for years charged licensing fees to those who wanted access to its extensive portfolio, but that is changing.

The image provider has launched an Embed tool that allows people to use more than 35 million of the service's portfolio of images for noncommercial purposes. Using the same iFrame code that lets users embed YouTube videos, Flickr photos, and tweets, Getty's tool generates an HTML code that contains appropriate attribution that can be embedded in a blog or social media post.

Acknowledging that its images have been widely pirated on the Web for years by users merely right-clicking on photos, Getty says the purpose of the program is to find new revenue streams for the photographers and the company.

"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," Craig Peters, senior vice president of business development, product and content at Getty Images, told CNET Australia.

Because the metadata remains with the image, users can click back to Getty Images for more information on the image or photographer or to license the image for other purposes.

"Over time there are other monetization options we can look at," Peters 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."

Indeed, Getty's updated terms of service allows the service to place ads in the embedded images without compensating the image's user.