A brand new and rather interesting move from GettyImages which has shaken up the photo licencing world. According to the new model, almost half of Getty Images library can now be embedded for free on Twitter, Tumblr and non-commercial blogs and websites.
Embedded images show without a watermark and with a photographer's credit and they link back to www.gettyimages.com where images can be purchased for commercial use. This means a lot of photographers will not get paid for their work until someone buys their image for commercial use.
This move will sure upset many content providers (=photographers) who are less and less in control over what happens to their work submitted to photo libraries such as Getty. In this tough industry, the sad truth is that such agencies care about their profits first, and photographers' benefits second. Business is business, after all.
It will be interesting to see contributors reaction to this gamble by Getty. On their part, the agency sure hopes no one will raise the alarm. Getty also defends their move by claiming its main objective is to raise awareness of people's copyright obligations. Embed icon and artist's attribution reminds us that content is owned by somebody.
Getty’s move, while seemingly bold, is, in a fact, a natural evolution. The old method of image licensing, exchanging a penny against a file, is dying because it doesn't respond to market needs anymore. Everyone is a publisher today and everyone needs pictures. Denying them access to your library because of cost, or complicated licensing format, is not a successful approach. What you want is to give them the easiest tools possible for them to use your images easily and then reap the benefits. Facilitate usage first, collect revenue second.