Have you heard about Getty Images’ new EMBED option? I first learned about it through a message from StudioPress Themes for WordPress referring a link to TheVerge.com and a post that goes into the thoughts behind this new wrinkle for Getty Images.
There have been horror stories all over the internet of the hostile correspondence from Getty Image with a bill for the unauthorized use of an image. I’m sure these ‘pay-up or be sued’ billings are justified in many situations. But the ones that aren’t working for Getty are the ones that are non-profitable blogs and websites for whatever reason — places where a $750.00 bill is impossible. Some are truly for pleasure-not-profit. Some are blogs by authors or artists that may appear to have profit goal which hasn’t been achieved. People who admittedly know quite a bit about copyright for their type of work, but truly don’t ‘get it’ about images on the ‘free’ Internet. know a starving author who took a boring image from someone else’s blog whice she felt had application on her post and who travels in the ‘dummy lane’ about images on the internet — that is until she got the bill from Getty Images. At the last update, she had tried the ‘dummy’ story with apologies and removal of the image with pleading explanations of her profit-less status, while contemplating spending money she didn’t have to spare to consult an attorney for stress relief OR spending money she didn’t have to spare to cave in and pay the billing. If she were going to pay, I wish she had used a more interesting image…a simple glass of non-fizzy, non-alcoholic beverage such as you might have at lunch seemed such a waste. The sort of thing that is easy to set up with your own camera! And very much the sort of thing that seemed kind of silly to get excited about the copyright.
Back to Getty Images’ new way of treating this issue to the benefit of all. The Embedded Viewer is a handy, dandy option, but you should be aware of ‘side-effects’. The images can be removed from the Embedded Viewer, leaving your blog post high and dry….this could be taken as a ‘sign’ that the content is stale. When an image ‘disappears’ you’ve received a signal to delete the stale post or page content. Your use is limited to a blog or website or ,interestingly, a social media platform…sharing on Facebook and Twitter. BUT, as I understand this, we can’t mess with the images, especially making them part of a frame or meme without express written permission. That covers the paid images too and is a fair boundary that Getty Images chooses to set. The Embedded Viewer can and will be tracked by Getty Images or a 3rd party. There may be some ads involved (I haven’t tried embedding many images to see where this goes.)
Images on our blog posts give character to the story we are trying to get across. They are pleasant eye candy and distraction. The image adds that ‘bit of spice’ for both reader and writer. ‘Bit’ is a serious word here because it is still only a bit of spice and to pay for an image in a blog that is ‘gamble marketing’ or simply a journal of thought, either or both without traceable ROI. I use my own cameras for many images and have accumulated several DVDs of excellent images from Serif.com. I subscribe to PresenterMedia for graphics that fit the posts.
I found the post at The Verge highly informative about this process and the possible goals of the Embedded Viewer. Because so many blogs are for informational pleasure and not profit, there is seldom any funds to be tapped by Getty Images. Since the images are being used anyway, Getty Images saw the handwriting on the wall for images which reads similar to the message left for the music industry. The Verge sees the new move as an effort to stay ahead of that train wreck, keep potential customers and have a way for the images to ‘work’ for the copyright holders other than a purchased use license.
The Embedded Viewer is attractive. It permits the resource a label saying “Getty Images”, names the photographer and offers social share buttons for Twitter and Tumblr. Plus the embed code is available from your blog to anyone else who wishes to have that image on their blog. Getty gets to serve up images without having every user log in and find images and the blogger benefits. The links may create some small SEO gain. Risks include the tracking, the removal of the images (disaster for a post that is nothing but images), general ‘link rot’ across the Internet from the impulsive shares and other uses. Link Rot is already a part of the Internet due to sharing videos and images from YouTube, Twitter, Twitpix and maybe Instagram. Then, there are the pictures on Flickr and Picasa which are ‘sorta public’ and shared with a link. Anytime someone removes a file from any of these services, there is a potential down the line for a hole in blogs. The best solution is to shoot your own images or use paid images that you can download and save to your computer for future use. It really isn’t something that lies at the top of most bloggers’ minds.
I commend Getty Images for their creative approach to a potential lifetime of small courtroom experiences when they would much rather be looking at pictures. Not all of their images are available through the Embedded Viewer, but the ones I’ve seen are very good. I’m sure the selection is generous for the needs of most bloggers.