Getty recently announced that they would offer most of their image collection free of charge. This should be great news for small bloggers and websites searching for content for their blogs.
Unfortunately the free images come with a few caveats. First off they use an iframe embed code much like YouTube and Vimeo do. Testing has shown that link juice does flow through the iframe meaning that anyone embeding an image is providing a backlink off of their site and diminishing the link value of the page just slightly. However, Getty is requiring that a ‘credit’ link be used when the image is embedded providing a second link back to Getty and in a more classic sense.
Also the images are not for commercial use, which is a bit of a murky world anyways. Getty could claim that you posting an image to a blog post on a blog that makes advertising revenue is commercial use, or posting an image to your company’s blog is also commercial use.
Finally this does not allow the images to be modified and used in social media on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
In reality what Getty has done is provide a conduit for noncommercial abusers of their images to continue doing so while providing a revenue stream and potentially new licensee’s. This announcement should not be seen as a reason for El Paso businesses, or businesses anywhere, to start overtly stealing and using Getty’s copyrighted images, even those it offers in this free program.
There are alternatives to getting images instead of risking a lawsuit from Getty Images.
- Go to Fiverr.com and find someone to draw your image or take your photo
- Go to Microlancer.com and do the same as above, but with higher quality and cost
- Use your smart phone to take your own photos
- Use meme generators to make memes
- Hold online contests to get images you have the rights to (use a release form)
- Use free stock photo sites like Stock Xchange and Morgue File to find free images
- Use Bing image search or Flickr image search to find images that are free for commercial use
- Embed Instagram photos (with users permission)
- Embed Tweets with images (with users permission)
- Post a craiglist ad for a photographer in your area
- Looking for a logo? Try Logo Garden
Note 1: If you’re doing a blog post about the city of El Paso, or any city it’s easier to take your own photo than to find one online.
Note 2: Avoid using Yahoo! image search for any images. Getty and Yahoo! made a deal last year so the first 2 rows will all be Getty images and could get you into trouble for using them without a license.