Frustration with Getty Images’ positive move to solve photo dilemmas

After realising they were fighting a losing battle over bloggers and smaller publishers robbing their images, Getty Images made a bold move to make a library of images available as free to use.

With seemingly infinite pages of content across the web, almost all furnished by an image, it was becoming an increasingly fruitless chase for Getty to protect their images from misuse, and of course the legal costs and challenges that it was presenting.

The understandable desire to protect their photographers, and rightly their income from paying customers, they came up with a compromise. They made a huge library of tens of thousands of images available for bloggers and websites to use as an embed.

It’s something I have been aware of for a long time, but it was only this week that I first tried to use it.

Using WordPress, there is a Getty Images plugin to enable their usage. Brilliant, that makes it easy.

There is a powerful search function that means you can find what you’re looking for and include it in your post easily.

On the post, the image appears. You can’t right click on it, but you can share it through social, and of course it gives the all important credit and link back to Getty and its photographer.

The problem came when trying to make the image fit as part of my website theme. WordPress users will be familiar with the concept of featured images, which is effectively the chosen image of your post which will then be pulled through to the homepage, category and archive pages (usually as a thumbnail) and through to share posts.

The trouble is there is no facility for the Getty Images to be used in this manner.

Which means that while you can have a brilliant looking photo embedded within your article, you can’t use the same photo on your homepage slider or as your article thumbnail image.

This seems to me to be an oversight. Perhaps it’s a technical issue, which is fair enough. But it strikes me that it wouldn’t be too difficult to make this available in WordPress at the very least (not ignoring the other CMS and platforms that people use).

It has immediately made me hesitant about using this Getty compromise.

Sure, as a professional, I won’t resort to simply nabbing images that I don’t have permission to use, but it certainly puts an obstacle in front of the supposed solution to a problem that was deemed serious enough for such significant action to be taken in the first place.

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