Global leader in stock imagery Getty Images recently announced that 35 million photos will now be available for free. In the past, visiting Getty’s website for an image promised to cost the user upwards of $75 for a small image. For growing companies, bloggers and publishers on a tight budget, this left two options: spend the money or steal the image. As Getty soon found out, copying the image without express permission became the norm.
Getty Combats Piracy
The high price of Getty’s images led many bloggers, publishers, and social media gurus to pirate the image, creating an unlicensed version capable of being used anywhere. As Craig Peters, a Getty executive, recently pointed out, “Look, if you want to get a Getty image today, you can find it without a watermark very simply.” From copying the image off a blogger’s page to taking a screenshot, it’s not very difficult to take advantage of Getty’s massive library of compelling imagery, Peters explains.
For Getty, this meant lost revenue, decreased brand exposure, and no way to monitor the use of their images across the web. Because the company represents over 200,000 photographers worldwide, Getty needed to come up with a solution that would benefit the company and the creative professionals who entrust their work (and salary) to them. Now, by giving free access to over 35 million images, Getty hopes to give publishers a legal, cost-free option for using their content that results in higher revenue for the company.
What’s in It for Getty?
How, exactly, does Getty plan to increase revenue by offering free content? Simple. Taking a page from YouTube’s book, Getty is offering free access to one-fifth of its total image library via an embed code. Getty hopes that users will opt for an easy-to-use embed code versus hunting down the image elsewhere online. If users accept Getty’s generosity and use the embed codes at no cost, Getty benefits in three significant ways.
Using Getty’s Free Images
For bootstrapped publishers, Getty’s recent change may seem like a blessing. However, there are two important stipulations the company has outlined.
Ultimately, Getty wants users to promote their high quality images during the course of online communication. With the addition of free image code, Getty hopes to transform piracy, a loss leader in the stock photo industry, into a profitable event.