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Getty Makes 35M Images Free for Bloggers' Use

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on March 10, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Getty Images is now allowing bloggers to use 35 million of its images for free as long as they're used for non-commercial purposes.

Despite Getty placing a watermark on all its online images, Getty executives are aware that people have been copying and pasting copyrighted pictures without permission. So they've created a new system that allows select Getty images to be embedded on websites, with the proper attributions prominently displayed, Forbes reports.

What do bloggers need to know about using Getty's free images?

Getty's Free 'Embedded Viewer'

Now that Getty is allowing users free access to millions of its images, it's also removing the watermark from the photos it's providing for free.

The problem with Getty's old watermark system was that once an image was purchased, the watermark would be removed; once removed and placed on a website, anyone online could copy and paste the image and use it without proper attribution or permission from the original owner.

Instead of a watermark, Getty is now allowing bloggers to embed many of its photos -- but only via a new "embedded viewer" tool. The tool drops the image into a blog or website with a footer crediting Getty and linking people to its licensing page, according to Forbes.

The footer and link could help reduce copyright infringement because they don't allow users to use the image without including a link to Getty's licensing page.

A Reminder About Fair Use Laws

Bloggers using Getty's new "embedded viewer" generally won't have to worry about copyright infringement -- as long as they're not using the images for a commercial purpose. (However, Getty doesn't mind if you make a little money off your blog via Google Ads, Forbes reports.)

Still, it's important to keep fair use laws in mind when adding images, videos, and other multimedia to your personal (or commercial) website.

Fair use allows the use of copyrighted material without permission from the original author under certain circumstances, including:

  • Criticism,
  • News reporting,
  • Comment,
  • Teaching,
  • Parody, and
  • Scholarship and research.

For example, if you're a college student researching political issues and you use an image of two politicians at a meeting for your term paper, that's probably protected under fair use law. On the other hand, if a person uses a copyrighted image to advertise his lawn-mowing business, then that's likely to be considered copyright infringement.

Even with Getty's free images, using them in advertisements, promotions, or advertising is not allowed.

Although 35 million of Getty's stock images are now free for non-commercial use by the public, bloggers don't have free access to Getty's entire collection of images, reports Forbes. For that, you'll still have to pay.

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