Getty Images allows free image embeds

In a radical shift in its business model, Getty Images is now allowing users to embed watermark-free images on websites and blogs free of charge

In a radical shift in its business model, Getty Images is now allowing users to embed watermark-free images on websites and blogs free of charge

An option to “Embed this image” has been added to images on the Getty site. Choose this option and users are given an embed code (similar to those used on YouTube) whereby the image can be embedded on the users’ site without any watermark. Instead, the image will carry a link back to Getty and a credit for the image and its photographer. Usage is restricted to editorial purposes.

As with YouTube, however, the linked content may be deleted at any time leaving users with a blank space on their site.



It’s a radical departure for Getty but one that follows a similar model to Imgembed, which we reported on last year, a service created by the same Singapore team behind Creative Finder and Design Taxi.

US site The Verge (read their full post here) quotes Craig Peters, a business development executive at Getty Images, on the rationale behind the move. “Look, if you want to get a Getty image today, you can find it without a watermark very simply,” he says. “The way you do that is you go to one of our customer sites and you right-click. Or you go to Google Image search or Bing Image Search and you get it there. And that’s what’s happening… Our content was everywhere already.”


Peters argues that if Getty provides a clear, legal path for using its images, publishers will take it, thus opening up new revenue streams for both Getty and photographers. Once images are embedded (using an iframe code) the company can in the future collect data on users and even implant ad messages replicating the success that YouTube has had with pre-roll advertising and ‘buy here’ options.

That functionality isn’t being employed as yet but appears to be one of a number of opportunities Getty is thinking about. But in the meantime, the embed option will at least credit both Getty and the photographer. “The principle is to turn what’s infringing use with good intentions, turning that into something that’s valid licensed use with some benefits going back to the photographer,” The Verge quotes Peters as saying, “and that starts really with attribution and a link back.”

Here’s what Getty’s Ts & Cs say about the usage of embeddable images: “Where enabled, you may embed Getty Images Content on a website, blog or social media platform using the embedded viewer … Not all Getty Images Content will be available for embedded use, and availability may change without notice. Getty Images reserves the right in its sole discretion to remove Getty Images Content from the Embedded Viewer. Upon request, you agree to take prompt action to stop using the Embedded Viewer and/or Getty Images Content. You may only use embedded Getty Images Content for editorial purposes (meaning relating to events that are newsworthy or of public interest). Embedded Getty Images Content may not be used: (a) for any commercial purpose (for example, in advertising, promotions or merchandising) or to suggest endorsement or sponsorship; (b) in violation of any stated restriction; (c) in a defamatory, pornographic or otherwise unlawful manner; or (d) outside of the context of the Embedded Viewer.

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 monetise its use without any compensation to you.”

More detail on how the embed system works here

Read BJP’s useful 10 facts you need to know about the service here


It’s a fascinating move by Getty, especially if/once they start to explore the potential of data collection and embedding ad messages. Photographers will be wondering when and how the promised new revenue will appear.

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