35 million photos on Getty Images now free to use

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Getty Images has just made 35 million of its photographs free to use, in an effort to combat piracy. The company is opening its library to online publishers through the new embed tool, to share its images using a HTML code on blogs and social media sites.

The HTML code will maintain the metadata of the image and will also append a footer to the photograph that credits both Getty Images and the original photographer, with a link back to the company’s licensing page.

“This will provide people with a simple and legal way to utilise content that respects creators’ rights, including the opportunity to generate licensing revenue,” said Getty Images in a statement.

Craig Peters, Getty’s senior vice president for business development, acknowledging that “tens of millions” of Getty photos have been shared without legal licensing, said “There are two ways to look at the world. People sharing content without a license is an issue — or it’s an opportunity.”

Peters, in an interview with CNET, said, “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.”

Peters explained that the users are allowed to use the 35 million images for “editorial purposes (meaning relating to events that are newsworthy or of public interest),” and any commercial use of company’s images for media or advertisements requires a paid license.

Getty Images also stated that the company may collect data related to the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content usage, and could monetise the Embedded photos in the future using targeted ads without any compensation.