For almost two decades, http://www.gettyimages.com/ has been the most comprehensive source for licensed digital images on the Internet. They have a live feed of news photographs, an unrivaled historic archive, and millions of licensed digital images, videos and music '- professional and otherwise. For thousands of people, though, licenses have been irrelevant. Getty's vast catalog is always watermarked, but there are ways around that. Getty has decided that the problem has spiraled so out of control that they need a new approach because, apparently, you can't sue everybody.
Beginning immediately you can surf to Getty, find an image that you like, and snag its embed code. This enables WordPress bloggers, as well as Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook users to use the image without requiring a licensing fee. YouTube and Flickr users are quite familiar with this tool, which produces an HTML code linking back to Getty and identifying the original source through attribution.
Image control has looked a lot like music sharing in the days before iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify. There needs to be a viable solution to tamp down the chaos. While this embed service is only available to noncommercial bloggers, it expands opportunities for Getty in many arenas. All pictures remain on their server, so information on who is using them, and how, remains within Getty's control. If the images are employed to promote a product or service, Getty will know. In 2013, they joined forces with Pinterest to exchange cash for metadata. This innovative embed tool is branding gold for Getty, since their name will now explode across the internet like never before.
The significance of this development is huge for the home blogger. Taking the fear out of image search is a much needed relief. Pictures which suggest a general topic or subject, like bacon, for instance, will now be available. Fewer news photos are available than might be expected, but that may change over time. More importantly, Getty's definition of commercial use is somewhat loose. As long as the image isn't used to promote a product, service, or business, bloggers are welcome to use them.
So, go ahead. Give it a try. The blogosphere has changed.