One of the biggest problems that I see today is with innocent copyright infringement. Here’s what I mean. It is so easy to find any type of image online and include that image in your own products, social media posts, etc. As I’ve talked about in previous articles, just because an image is found online doesn’t automatically make it free to use without restriction. You would either need to purchase a license to use the image, get permission from the owner, or find images that have truly been made available for commercial use by anyone for no licensing fee.
Companies like Getty Images are notorious for going after individuals, small businesses, and big businesses for copyright infringement amounting to large sums of money for what seems to be innocent use of their images. But things are finally starting to shift in a new direction. Here’s why:
Getty has recently made millions of images available for free for
certain types of social media and web site use.
The new program is referred to as Getty’s “Embed Policy.” Getty appears to be making this move to avoid going after every unlicensed image use from its vast library, and instead is giving people a way to help Getty obtain even more licensing revenue and/or exposure.
To use Getty’s new embed feature, all you do is the following: 1. Click an image’s embed icon (</>) from the search results or image detail page on Getty.com; 2. Once you’re in the embed window, copy the embed code; 3. Paste the HTML you just copied into the source code of the website or blog where you want the image to appear; and 4. Publish and share with others!
Even though Getty has released this new policy, you still have to make sure you’re using the embedded Getty Images content for editorial purposes only and not for: (a) any commercial purpose (for example, in advertising, promotions or merchandising) or to suggest endorsement or sponsorship; (b) in violation of any stated restriction; (c) in a defamatory, pornographic or otherwise unlawful manner; or (d) outside of the context of the Embedded Viewer. If you do not comply with these rules, you will still be subject to copyright infringement risks. I expect that other large image companies will follow in Getty’s footsteps and release similar social media and website programs.You still need to be very careful any time you use third party images and other media to make sure you have obtained the proper license for that specific type of use. For example, just because something is free for personal use doesn’t make it free to use on the cover of a product. Commercial use is often prohibited in many license terms unless a special commercial license is purchased.
For now, I count this as a small victory towards making it easier to have a source of images for social media and web site use as long as Getty’s required process is followed.