Getty are providing a huge chunk of their image catalogue available. For free. It was inevitable. Welcome to the 21st century. I like to take photographs and if possible sell a snap or two. But I surrendered a long time ago. No, that’s not quite true. Actually, I never even entered the fray. I recognised the internet for what it was pretty early on. Perhaps I was influenced by the fact that I was a taker before I was a giver. I admit it. I stole images and shared them on the internet. Very occasionally, I still do. Very, very occasionally.
Did I (do I) hurt anyone through my deviant actions? Financially, or emotionally? Nope. Never. Because I would never have paid for an image if that were the only option available to obtain it – I would have used an alternative or used no image at all. And I’ve never used anyone’s image for commercial gain. I am pretty sure that I am not the only blogger to have ever used a photo or image without permission.
Getty have awoken to this reality: “In essence, it is admitting defeat. By offering the ability to embed photos, Getty is saying it cannot effectively police the use of its images in every nook and cranny of the internet”… BBC. On the Guardian: “People who were previously not paying for Getty images, and were never going to… now do not need to pay for Getty images. Instead of chasing infringers, Getty is offering them a deal.”
Both of those articles also describe the anger of photographers who sell via Getty. A lot of them are unhappy with their photos being given away for free. They, sadly, haven’t awoken to the reality of the internet. Commercial use of their photography earns them money as usual. Nothing has changed. The only thing that has changed is that images that were previously ‘stolen’ by bloggers and the like are now ‘loaned’.
Getty now knows where their images are. And I dare say that at some stage Getty will monetise these images. It’s a brilliant move. WordPress have jumped on the bandwagon. Which can only help increase exposure of photographers work. Photographers complain that exposure doesn’t feed their kids. Sure, but what sort of feast did their kids dine on from the proceeds of stolen images? And if a photo goes viral and gets bought by commercial users as a result? That’ll help put a bite or two in their offspring’s bellies.
I’ve had a quick search through Getty’s catalogue to find a nice photo to embed as an example. Hey, this place looks familiar…