Pin A Getty Image: Getty Receives Compensation

Posted on 10/28/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Getty Images has done a deal with Pinterest that will track the use of any of the 80 million photos and illustrations on whenever they are posted on the digital scrapbooking site. (A little over 7 million of those photos are on the Creative section of the site.)

Pinterest says “As part of our agreement, we’ll pay Getty Images a fee for the data they share and will help make sure that their images get proper attribution.” Pinterest users will be able to see more information about the source of the photos, including the name of the photographer, when and where the photo was taken, and the key words used to describe it.

Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but offering a fee for image metadata is a first for Pinterest. Up to now, Pinterest has offered traffic to partners for more data — such as in the case of the recent article pins it introduced, or the Flickr deal from last year that added a Pin-it button to and Flickr backlinks for images posted on Pinterest.

The deal leaves contributors with several questions. “How large is the fee for the pining of a single image likely to be?” “Will re-pins count?” “How will uses be reported?

Will Getty be paid a fixed fee every time an image is pinned or re-pinned, or will they receive a flat monthly fee (subscription) regardless of how many images are pinned? If it is a subscription deal, as so many of their editorial and “Premium Access” deals are, then presumably Getty would divide the total number of uses (tracked using PicScout) into the contributor share of the monthly fee and come up with a value for each pin.

Of course, as uses increase Getty will certainly try to negotiate a higher subscription. But it will not be surprising if the royalty per pin is a very small fraction of a penny.

Pinterest says, “We’re just getting started with Getty Images but we’re excited about the possibilities of what their data can help us deliver.”

The deal also solves a copyright problem for Pinterest. Now, any image that is on the Getty site will be legally licensed whenever it is pinned. Pinterest will not have to worry about DMCA takedown notices, or the risk of copyright infringement suits when images that appear on the Getty site are used.

When interview recently by Olivier Laurent of the British Journal of Photography Getty CEO, Jonathan Klein pointed out that while the current revenue model where the customer pays a fixed fee to use an image will continue to be a big part of our industry “we have to adopt other models for being paid.” This is the new revenue model.

Hopefully, someday (but don’t expect it soon) creators will get some idea of the total number of images added to Pinterest each month that were created by Getty contributors, and the percentage of total images uploaded to Pinterest each month that they represent.

Copyright © 2013 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:  


  • Paul Melcher Posted Oct 28, 2013
    You have to be very careful here. Pinterest is not paying a licensing fee. It is only paying for the right to access the image corresponding information (metadata) via the Getty Api. The distinction is very important for Pinterest because if they were paying a licensing fee, it would open the doors for all copyright owners to ask for same.

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