Oliver Laurent of British Journal of Photography points to the bold move that could change the entire photography market:
Getty Images has single-handedly redefined the entire photography market with the launch of a new embedding feature that will make more than 35 million images freely available to anyone for non-commercial usage.
Since much of the copyright infringement comes from individual users who are often ignorant of the copyright laws and don’t have a budget to purchase the images, the move to make the images available for free makes sense at least from an enforcement perspective. It also make sense from a copyright perspective because the HTML embed code the user will copy from the Getty site will embed a player on their site that will serve up the image, similar to an embedded YouTube video, that will include the full copyright information and a link back to the image’s dedicated licensing page on the Getty Images website.
The end user gets access to high quality images and the photographer gets credit. In a social networked world getting credit for ones work can pay off as as much or even more than a small royalty fee. I know I will be adding the Getty Images site to my list when in the hunt for great images.