Don’t celebrate too soon.
Getty Images just announced that non-commercial users can now have access to millions of photos for free through use of their new embedding process. Check it out. The photo for this post has been embedded and I didn’t pay to use it. The photographer, Kristian Sekulic, created and owns the copyright to this photo. She has contracted with Getty to assist in the sale of this work and didn’t earn a dime when I used it for this post.
I get it. Many of us bloggers are small fish, and have limited budgets. It’s difficult to pay for photos. So, use of free photos without the concern of getting sued sounds fantastic. But, the adage “if something is too good to be true, it probably is” applies here.
Read through this section of the current Getty terms of service:
“Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you.”
I’m not an attorney, but what it sounds like to me is that one of these days, I can reasonably expect any of these embedded photos to contain advertising for products that I may, or may not, be interested in supporting. My post may be about a very painful family moment and the ad may be for a weight loss company. Or the photographer who owns the photo has decided to no longer do business with Getty and the space is now blank.
By using the embedded photo, I’ve now given Getty the right and ability to change the content in the photo area, and permission to track data associated with the photo and my blog. I’m not sure that I care to have Getty earn money by selling space on my blog for their financial benefit in exchange for using “free” photos or illustrations.
I also believe that artists, photographers, illustrators and yes, blog writers, should be able to control usage of their work and be fairly compensated. If Getty begins selling ads associated with the use of these “marketing” photos, will the copyright owners get paid? Maybe, but I don’t know.
So Getty is giving away images for free? I don’t think so. Is it worth it? Only you can decide.
Update: Here are a few links to some thought provoking posts.