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Big news from Getty Images

Getty Images’ new embed tool is huge news for those of us who look for great images to use in teaching, digital storytelling and presentation.

Why huge?

We’re talking 35 million photographs. Up until right now, over the course of years, some folks paid serious money for the use of this art.  Other folks have not.

The move is both an acknowledgment of and response to the flagrant right-click-and-use-without-credit grabbing of digital images.

The British Journal of Photography quoted Getty Images’ Craig Peters, Senior VP of Business Development, Content and Marketing on this unconventional response to

We’re launching the ability to embed our images freely for non-commercial use online. . . In essence, anyone will be able to visit Getty Images’ library of content, select an image and copy an embed HTML code to use that image on their own websites. Getty Images will serve the image in a embedded player – very much like YouTube currently does with its videos — which will include the full copyright information and a link back to the image’s dedicated licensing page on the Getty Images website.

Getty’s new tool grants permission for image searchers/users to

embed available Getty Images photos in. . . personal posts on social media sites as long as the photo is not used for commercial purposes intended to sell a product, raise money, or promote or endorse something.  Note that proper rendering of embed codes is at the discretion of the destination site.

This generous language allows me to use embedded Getty Images in my blog; it allows use for most teacher use and for most student projects.

Here’s what it looks like after a search on an image that offers embed code:







Searches may be refined by events, people, style, composition.  Images may be sorted by newest, oldest, best match or most popular.  (I have not figured out how to filter for embeddable images only.)  Within an image’s detail page, handy features allow searchers to view other images by the same photographer and see image previews.

I am kind of in love with the interactive Keyword Guide.

A comprehensive Help Center covers searching, working with images, licensing and embedding.

Though not every image offers embed code, there’s so much here for us to celebrate.  (It is possible that the stock photography market is not celebrating with the same enthusiasm.)

For teachers, and for Getty, the generous move promotes a win/win in encouraging the ethical use of intellectual property.  Embedded images wear Getty Image branding and readers/viewers are linked directly back to an image’s details page.

Note that Getty reserves the right to use the data generated from image use to benefit its own business and it is possible that may opt to monetize its branding.

Here are a few of the goodies I discovered.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Len Bryan says

    Yay! Another excellent tool for helping us teach and model the responsible use of resources. Thanks so much for sharing this!


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