The Getty Images website is home to millions of high quality images, but they didn’t come for free. Each image had a watermark, which you had to pay Getty to remove and give access to the untouched image. It’s how things worked until now, but the company has just announced that it’s going free.
The majority of images in the Getty website will have their watermarks removed, and anyone will be able to use them. Instead of charging for non-watermarked images, Getty is choosing a different path. The images will be freely embeddable across the web, as long as Getty can place a footer at the bottom with credit and link to the licensing page.
Craig Peters of Getty says that while it seems the move is a big risk for the company, their images were already distributed across the web anyway:
“Look, if you want to get a Getty image today, you can find it without a watermark very simply. The way you do that is you go to one of our customer sites and you right-click. Or you go to Google Image search or Bing Image Search and you get it there. And that’s what’s happening… Our content was everywhere already.”
Now that the images are theoretically going to be embedded, this gives Getty more control of the images. That could lead to things like advertising, or even data collection. But those things haven’t been implemented yet.
Free and legal access to high quality images? With proper credit to its creator? This is undoubtedly the right way to go. Let’s hope it works out.
[via The Verge]