10 things you need to know about Getty’s embed tool

Everything you should know about Getty Images' new embed feature, which will make 35 million of its images free for all non-commercial uses

Olivier Laurent — 6 March 2014

An example of how a Getty Images' photograph can be embedded on a blog.The embed code that users can copy and paste to feature Getty's images on their own websites.

Getty Images is revolutionising the photography market, once again, by making most of its photography free to use through a new embedding feature. But what does it mean for professional photographers and the market in general? [Read our full coverage here] We list the 10 most important facts you need to know about this deal.

1. How exactly will it work?

Anyone with a blog, a WordPress account, a Twitter handle or a Tumblr, to name just a few, can now select and any of Getty Images’ 35 million photographs and embed them in their content – as long as the images are not used for commercial purposes.

2. What does the embed player look like?

It has a width of  594 pixels and a height of 465 pixels. It cannot be resized. It includes the image, without a watermark, with the name of the photographer and the collection, plus the Getty Images logo. This information cannot be removed. Here’s an example:

3. How is commercial use defined?

Getty Images defines “commercial use” as the promotion of a product, service or company. For example, if you’re a car dealer and decide to use one of Getty’s images to promote your services, that’s  commercial use, and you must pay to use the image. However, if you are a car aficionado and use one of Getty’s images to discuss the merits of the latest Ferrari California T on your blog, that is not commercial use and you won’t have to pay.

4. But what if a personal blog uses Google Ads to make money from its traffic?

“We would not consider this commercial use,” says Craig Peters, senior vice president at Getty Images. “The fact today that a website is generating revenue would not limit the use of the embed.” This opens up Getty’s imagery to hundreds of thousands of blogs and websites.

5. What about news websites and the likes of BuzzFeed?

As long as Getty’s images are used in an editorial context and not to promote a business, a product or a service, any website can use the embed player. If The New York Times, say, suddenly decided to use the feature, it would be allowed to do so. However, Peters says the image library doesn’t believe news websites will want to feature an embed player with Getty Images’ branding in their design, especially since the player cannot be resized. What’s more, Getty Images plans to feature ads in its player, which would compete with news organisations’ own advertising models.

6. Why is Getty Images doing this?

Because the large majority of the public is already using images without permission, posting Getty’s images on blogs and social media without attribution and stripped of their metadata.

Peters says: “What we’ve seen is a significant amount of infringement online in an area, unfortunately, that we can’t control because this is how the internet has developed. What we’re trying to do here is to put a legal method in place for that to happen and that actually benefits our content owners.”

With the embed player, Getty Images wants to rein in this phenomenon, retaining control over its imagery while making it easier for it to be shared and discovered. Each image will feature the name of its photographer and collection and will link back to Getty Images’ website where commercial entities will be able to license it.

7. What images are included in this new feature?

Getty Images’ entire collections of stock photography along with its banks of news, sports and entertainment images. Plus, all of its prestigious historical and vintage archives.

8. What about the Reportage by Getty Images and Contour by Getty Images collections?

These banks of award-winning imagery will not be included in the embed programme. Editorial and commercial clients alike will still have to buy a licence to feature images from these collections.

9. Getty Images also distributes Agence France-Presse news images. Will they be available through the embed player?

Yes. Getty Images has confirmed that Agence France-Presse is joining the programme, although it will take several weeks for these images to become available.

10. What does it all mean for the industry?

There’s no doubt that Getty Images’ move will alter the stock photography landscape in particular and photography in general. It remains to be seen whether other agencies – from Corbis to Magnum Photos – will follow suit. Getty Images says it will make its platform available to all agencies (probably through traditional distribution deals). What is sure is that the embed feature will prove popular among bloggers and on social media platforms. BJP will closely monitor the impact of this move.

Read our interview with senior vice president Craig Peters of Getty Images to learn more about this new feature.