Getty Images is a comprehensive collection of high quality photography, video, and music, for creative and editorial use.
Getty Images have historically been available for licensing, and the prices have been high. So high, that Getty wasn’t a viable source of images for most bloggers.
As a result, people would look elsewhere or end up using images from the Getty collection without permission. Even if the images weren’t found on the Getty website, using any image without permission is illegal.
In my experience, Getty has been aggressive in going after anyone who used images without paying for them.
I don’t blame Getty for protecting their business. But in the case of two site owners I know that had to deal with them, both described Getty’s approach to the situation as “heavy-handed.”
Besides, there are lots of free, high-quality images out there for you to use.
Either way, it seems Getty has realized that the old business models are not as viable, and chasing every violation is not a battle they will win long-term (though that still doesn’t excuse it).
I applaud Getty for the new approach but am not happy with the implementation, even if it does represent a step in the right direction.
Here’s what you need to know about using Getty Images for free:
You can only embed images, not download them from Getty and upload them to your site. The embed code includes social media links and appropriate credits which is fair.
The downside of that is that you can’t use the Getty Images as “featured” images in the WordPress/CMS sense of the word. This also means that the embed adds an iFrame to your page, which has its own set of problems.
Not all images are embeddable. If they are you’ll see a little embed icon under the image when you’re looking at it.
You’re not allowed to resize the images. This one I don’t get at all. You get the size of the embed, if you want a different size you’ll have to pay for the license. While the images are a decent “medium” size (per what I’ve seen at so far), you may want a smaller version in your post to complement the text.
Embedding is ok on your website, social media site, or blog.
Restrictions (i.e. Here’s how you’re not allowed to use the images):
- Commercial use intended to sell a product, raise money, or promote or endorse something.
- Any use that is defamatory, pornographic or otherwise illegal.
- Any use that violates a stated restriction on the gettyimages.com image details page.
- Any use outside of the context of the embed functionality.
My first concern is that Getty can change the rules at anytime and your image(s) may disappear. The last thing you want is a big blank spot on your site where the image once was.
I’m just not a fan of having to”embed” an image. It’s a poor way to get images on your site and takes too much control out of the site owners hands.
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 monetize its use without any compensation to you.
While I commend the step Getty has taken, it comes with far too many strings attached for me to consider them as a viable source of images for a website when there are so many beautiful images out there without those restrictions.
What do you think? Go or no-go on Getty?