More On Getty’s Embed Tool

Posted on 3/7/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

See the previous story. It looks like a high percentage of the RM and RF images in the Creative Stock Images of the cannot be accessed using the Embed Tool.

Using the Advanced Search option I checked Blend Images, Image Source, National Geographic, Aurora, Minden Pictures, Robert Harding World Imagery, Universal Image Group, Design Pics and Huntstock. I only had time to search through a few images in each collections but it looks like none of their images are available for embedding. It looks like all Image Partner collections were given the option to participate in this initiative, or not.

I also did searches for Stone, Taxi and Image Bank. It looks like none of those images are available for embedding either.

Among those that can be embedded are: Flickr, iStock Vectors and Photographer’s Choice.

I asked Getty public relations a few questions. They supplied me with the following answer that can be attributed to Getty Images.

1 – Are customers able to embed images that are on iStock and Thinkstock?

“Right now the embed feature is only for images on It is not on the company’s master delegate sites. It is not on iStock or Thinkstock. Getty Images will see how it resonates and then make decisions about iStock and Thinkstock.”

Of course the iStock images that are on and at least some of them are available for embedding.

2 – I asked, if a contributor’s image is downloaded using the embed tool will the contributor be informed of the image number that was downloaded and hopefully of the site where the image will be found (Getty will capture that information).

 “At launch, we will not be sharing information of this manner with contributors, but we will explore data sharing options in the future. If and when we earn revenue associated with an embedded image (e.g., ads placed in the embedded viewer), we will report that revenue to contributors through existing royalty reports.”

3 - Last August Getty partnered with Stipple embeds ads and other kinds of information in images. You can learn more about it here.

I asked if one of their plans for generating ad revenue was to use Stipple technology to embed ads in the viewer and, if so, what will be the revenue sharing arrangement between the company doing the advertising, Stipple, Getty and image creators. They supplied the following answer:
“As usage scales and digital advertising continues to grow, we may in future explore ways to monetize these rights in the best and most effective way possible, for example, by placing ads in the viewer similar to YouTube’s model. What that model might look like though, we don’t yet know. In these cases, we will pay royalties to the photographers or partners who own the content.”

Advertising Revenue

Craig Peters, senior vice president of business development, product and content at Getty Images, has been quoted in a number of different publications about the company’s plans to generate revenue using the embedded player.

He acknowledged that Getty could include advertisements within the embedded images, much like YouTube videos embedded on personal blogs show ads that bring revenue to Google. Getty hasn’t figured out how exactly that will work, but Peters is confident that this capability will be introduced in the near future.

He was asked if a personal blog used Google Ads to draw revenues from its traffic would that be considered a commercial use. He said, “We would not consider this commercial use. The fact today that a website is generating revenue would not limit the use of the embed.”

"What we're trying to do is take a behavior that already exists and enable it legally, then try to get some benefits back to the photographer primarily through attribution and linkage."

A spokeswoman for Getty Images confirmed to the British Journal of Photography (BJP) that editorial websites, from The New York Times to Buzzfeed, will also be able to use the embed feature as long as images are used in an editorial context.

Why Might Users Resist This Offer

There are a number or reasons why web user might not jump at the chance to get these free images.
    1 – If they go to to do a search a lot of the images that come up initially are not available for embedding. Thus, it may be necessary to spend a lot of time searching for a free image. So far Getty has not applied a filter that would enable a search for only those images that are available for embedding.

    2 – The size of the image as it will appear on their blog is fixed. They may want to adjust the size of the images they use.

    3 – If they use the embed tool they give Getty access to their site and the ability to contact their users. Getty reserves the right to collect data related to use of the embedded viewer or otherwise monetize its use without compensation to the site owner. Many people may not want to give up that control.

    4 – If they go to iStock or many of the other microstock sites, it will usually be easier to find an image that would meet their needs than doing a search. The cost would be in the range of $2.00 or less for a small 72dpi file. They could size the image in any way that fit their layout. They wouldn’t have to give up the control that the embed tool requires of them.

    5 – The embedded image can’t easily travel with a post, if that post is copied to another site.

    6 – In many cases bloggers will not want to show the Getty logo and photographer’s copyright under their pictures, particularly if most of the pictures on their site have no such information under them. It is easy enough to strip that information, but then they would in violation of the embed license so what’s the point of getting an embed picture in the first place.

    7 – If people want to share an image they have found on another web site, it is a lot easier to copy and paste than to go through the process of going to, finding the images and using the embed tool to embed the image to their site.
All in All this may not be the slam dunk Getty hopes it will be.

How Might Free Images Affect Copyright Enforcement?

Austin-based commercial and editorial photographer Darren Carroll shared his concerns about precedent with PhotoShelter, “This will immediately and adversely affect the ability of anyone to attempt to recoup compensation for images that are ‘stolen’ or otherwise appropriated by bloggers or other websites, because Getty has effectively established a price point of $0.00 for the 1000-pixel, web-only, non-exclusive editorial usage category. So now, if someone ‘steals’ an image of mine and I ask for payment, it’s not outside the realm of possibility for a blogger (or, for that matter, a judge or jury attempting to compute actual damages) to make the case that they owe me exactly what the going market rate is.”

Copyright © 2014 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff