Getty Images makes 35 million images free in fight against copyright infringement by Olivier Laurent.
From the post:
Getty Images has single-handedly redefined the entire photography market with the launch of a new embedding feature that will make more than 35 million images freely available to anyone for non-commercial usage. BJP’s Olivier Laurent finds out more.
The controversial move is set to draw professional photographers’ ire at a time when the stock photography market is marred by low prices and under attack from new mobile photography players. Yet, Getty Images defends the move, arguing that it’s not strong enough to control how the Internet has developed and, with it, users’ online behaviours.
“We’re really starting to see the extent of online infringement,” says Craig Peters, senior vice president of business development, content and marketing at Getty Images. “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.”
In the past few years, Getty Images found that its content was “incredibly used” in this manner online, says Peters. “And it’s not used with a watermark; instead it’s typically found on one of our valid licensing customers’ websites or through an image search. What we’re finding is that the vast majority of infringement in this space happen with self publishers who typically don’t know anything about copyright and licensing, and who simply don’t have any budget to support their content needs.”
To solve this problem, Getty Images has chosen an unconventional strategy. “We’re launching the ability to embed our images freely for non-commercial use online,” Peters explains. In essence, anyone 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 – very much like YouTube currently does with its videos – which will include the full copyright information and a link back to the image’s dedicated licensing page on the Getty Images website.
More than 35 million images from Getty Images’ news, sports, entertainment and stock collections, as well as its archives, will be available for embedding from 06 March.
What a clever move by Getty!
Think about it. Who do you sue for copyright infringement? Is it some hobbyist blogger or use of an image in a school newspaper? OK, the RIAA would but what about sane people?
Your first question: Did the infringement result is a substantial profit due to the infringement?
Your second question: Does the guilty party have enough assets to likely recover the substantial profit?
You only want to catch infringement by other major for profit players.
All of who have to publicly use your images. Hiding infringement isn’t possible.
None of the major media outlets or publishers are going to cheat on use of your images. Whether that is because they are honest with regard to IP or so easily caught, doesn’t really matter.
In one fell swoop, Getty has secured for itself free advertising for every image that is used for free. Advertising it could not have bought for any sum of money.
Makes me wonder when the ACM, IEEE, Springer, Elsevier and others are going to realize that free and public access to their journals and monographs will drive demand for libraries to have enhanced access to those publications?
It isn’t like EBSCO and the others are going to start using data that is limited to non-commercial use for their databases. That would be too obvious, not to mention incurring significant legal liability.
Ditto for libraries. Libraries want legitimate access to the materials they provide and/or host.
As I told an academic society once upon a time, “It’s time to stop grubbing for pennies when there are $100 bills blowing over head.” It involve a replacement of “lost in the mail” journals. At a replacement cost of $3.50 (plus postage) per claim, they were employing a full time person to research eligibility to request a replacement copy. For a time I convinced them to simply replace upon request in the mailroom. Track requests but just do it. Worked quite well.
Over the years management has changed and I suspect they have returned to protecting the rights of members that only people entitled to a copy of the journal got one. I kid you not, that was the explanation for the old policy. Bizarre.
I first saw this at: Getty Set 35 Million Images Free, But Who Can Use Them? by David Godsall.
PS: The thought does occur to me that suitable annotations could be prepared ahead of time for these images so that when a for-profit publisher purchases the rights to a Getty image, someone could offer robust metadata to accompany the image.