[Edited 22/09/14 to adapt text to updated Getty embed feature]
Ever heard of Getty Images? You should have, if you are an RA blogger, because lately a lot of his images have been officially been distributed by Getty Images, the world’s largest photo resource bank. Leslie Hassler’s intimate shoot in New York? Getty. The old favourite red-backdropped images from the press tour 2012 by Vera Anderson? Getty. Berlin red carpet in all its glory? Getty. The delicious first outing of the new A___ mane (lately to have been cut back again *meh*) in conjunction with some chest-hairitage at the BAFTA LA tea party 2013? Getty. So we can all agree how important Getty is for the distribution of RA images alone.
Up until now, however, we have been operating in rather shady fields and murky waters. The use of licensed imagery on blogs is subject to permission and fee – which fan bloggers like you and I can not afford. For the most part I, personally, have tried to avoid using licensed imagery on my blog (but I have caved in for my *ooof*s on a regular basis). Essentially, you and I have been infringing on copyrights every time we have illustrated our posts with a professionally taken and licensed image of A___ – an issue I have long been very uncomfortable with…
But Getty will now make it possible for me and countless other non-commercial fanbloggers out there to use its images legally and for free. The solution to our copyright infringement problems is Getty’s new embedding feature. Essentially, the company from now on allows its images to be used on non-commercial blogs and websites in their un-watermarked version for free – that is if you embed the image through their system on their image bank, which will add an automatic attribution bar and link underneath the image as it is embedded in your text.
As you can see above here, the embedded image is unwatermarked, it mentions both distributor (Getty) as well as originator of the image (photographer Jim Spellman). For easy Social Media use, sharing options like twitter and tumblr are already included. For you as a blogger the + symbol applies. Click, and a little window pops up with sharing options. The most important little symbol are the two little arrows – if you click on them, you get the embed code for the image in a new window, which you can copy and thereby easily transfer this image into your own blog. (You can try this out right now – move your mouse over the icon above and click – the embed code will appear in a box on top of this image!) As far as I can see you can not play with the size of the image on the Getty page – you can, I suspect, adjust it when you go into your own source code on your blog/webpage.
If you want to embed an A___ image not from someone’s blog but from Getty themselves, you can search for “r___ a___” on their website. Move your mouse over the images, and you will see that some pictures give you the option to embed (look for the icon).
If you click on the </>, the image will appear in its preview in a separate window. The embed code is ready to copy and paste in a box above the image.
On a practical level, Getty acknowledges with this initiative that the battle against copyright infringement within social media has basically been lost. Sharing images has become a daily occurance for almost anyone who has a Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ account. Unfortunately, with losses to photographers – their images are used but the creators do not reap the reward. This initiative by Getty seems to ignore the copyrights of photographers once again, because it is intentionally designed to allow the unlicensed use of the image in digital media. However, much along the lines of my own argument from last year, Getty argues that while the copyright battle is long lost on the web, there is other value to be had, namely proper attribution, direct link-backs to the Getty site with all proper details, and since the embedded images are served from Getty, access to information on who and how that image is being used and viewed.
The last point, as inconspicuous as it sounds – is the crucial point: Getty gets something out of this, even though it is not tangible revenue as such. They get valuable data – about users and distributors of their images, and they will most probably use the opportunity at some stage to show ads either with the embedded image or on the back-end where users can access the embed-code.
The decision to open up the images for free embedding will be viewed controversially among photographers. Aside from a small number of celebrity photographers, the general consensus is that photographers do not exactly amass riches with their work. Losing potential income from the use of their images will be a sore point with them. However, the fact remains that they never received income from illegally pictured, screencapped or unlicensed use of the material in the first place – so what is the loss? Maybe the news will turn out beneficial for photographers, too, in the long run. With better attribution and easier linking, the embed player could certainly help spread the word about photographer’s names and draw commercial users to the correct source.
In the mean time I will shut Guylty the photographer into the basement and go on a massive embedding spree as Guylty the blogger. It’s good to be able to do this legally now…