March 7, 2014 - 11:11 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Getty Images, which holds one of the largest photo collections in the world, has changed its rights policy as a reaction to uncredited photo-sharing becoming increasingly straightforward, TheGuardian reported.
Getty announced on Wednesday, March 5 that it is removing watermarks from 35m images in its photo collection, and making those photos free for non-commercial use. The photos will incorporate an embed tool that includes photographer attribution and a link back to Getty’s home site starting on Thursday.
The company said these policies make it easier for people to share their photos on social media and personal blogs.
Traditionally, any organization that wants to use other people’s photos must pay for rights. But thanks to screenshots and image downloading functions, it’s become easy – and increasingly common – for any organization or individual to capture a Getty photo without paying for rights.
Craig Peters, Getty’s senior vice-president of business development, content and marketing, told the British Journal of Photography that technological developments moved the company to make this decision.
“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,” Peters said. “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.”
Websites that generate revenue are not necessarily considered commercial by Getty, meaning blogs that use Google Ads and news sites can legally use the free images as long as they aren’t used to promote or advertise products and businesses.
In October 2013, a US federal jury ordered Getty and Agence France-Presse to pay $1.2m to photojournalist Daniel Morel after the agencies used photos from his personal Twitter account.