Embedding Professional Photos for Free

Getty Images has recently launched a new tool that allows anyone to embed the professional photos in their catalogue on non-commercial websites free of charge. When hovering over images in Getty’s massive catalogue, you’ll now see a button to embed a chosen image. Copying the given html embed code will allow you to easily insert this image on your site, with proper attribution included (like the one you see here below, which is one that I have licensed with Getty):

As a Getty contributor, I have mixed feelings about this newest move. I realize that photos are used all the time without respect to copyright (I get many  hits each day on my photostream from Pinterest, for example, even though I’ve never shared anything there), and can see this as a move to at least start acknowledging others’ work. But I wonder how much incentive is left both for clients to purchase my images, which are now freely available in the public domain, and for photographers like myself to continue to contribute them.

I love the idea of sharing and collaboration, but I worry at the same time about a future where people expect everything for free. While this post pertains to photography, I see similar discussions happening around all sorts of other creative industries from music to graphic design. I love getting things for free too, but I certainly don’t like working for free. Fortunately for me, photography is a passion and a hobby and not a source of income that I rely upon, but I worry about anyone who is trying to make a living off their creative talents. Aside from ‘credit’, what is their incentive to create new work?

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