Getty Images to make 35m photos catalogue available for free

6 Mar 2014

In a move that could reshape the entire photography business – for better or worse – Getty Images has made its entire library of 35m images available for free, ostensibly for the purpose of fighting copyright infringement.

There is a clause however – use of the images must be for non-commercial purposes.

Users will be able to visit Getty Images’ library of content, select an image and copy an embed HTML code to use that image on their own websites.

Getty Images will serve the image in a embedded player, which will include the full copyright information and a link back to the image’s dedicated licensing page on the Getty Images website.

Everybody today is a publisher

“We’re really starting to see the extent of online infringement,” Craig Peters, senior vice-president of business development, content and marketing at Getty Images, was quoted as saying in the British Journal of Photography.

“In essence, everybody today is a publisher thanks to social media and self-publishing platforms. And it’s incredibly easy to find content online and simply right-click to utilise it.”

Getty found the vast majority of infringement in this space happens with self publishers who don’t know anything about copyright and licensing.

“We’re launching the ability to embed our images freely for non-commercial use online,” Peters said.

In September, Dublin-headquartered video advertising platform Viddyad struck a deal with imagery giant Getty Images that will enable small businesses around the world to create their own video ads online within a minute.

And last month, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s joined forces with Getty Images to created a new library of curated images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years