The Google / Getty Stock Images Situation
Over the last few weeks, I have closely followed the situation that currently exists between Google, and Getty Images.
It comes almost immediately after the problems with Instagram terms of service – which were re-issued to state that
“Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”
These terms have since been revised, Getty though has continued to broker a deal with Google that seems on the face of it to be totally unreasonable. On the Google Drive Blog they announced 5000 new images were to be made available free of charge to Google Drive users. Create an image on Google Drive, and choose your image to illustrate it. Whether for personal, or commercial use the images are free.
Where do these images come from? Well, a lot seem to come from ‘i-stock’ , and others from the Getty/Flickr relationship.
This is a licence deal arranged with Google, through Getty images and iStock RF collections. There was an initial pool of several thousand images licensed from Getty and iStock RF that are on the Getty platform.
What does this mean – well initially we have seen that some photographers whose images are sourced through Flickr to the Getty RF pool, have received around $12 per image, to have their images on the Google Drive search. Images which have had the metadata stripped and can therefore not be traced back to the photographer.
So – initially, if you have photos on Flickr, which are currently in the Getty pool, you may find them turning up on Google Drive.. You will know if this has happened, as it will show in the October / November 2012 statements. The main problem as I see it, is that you have images of people who have signed a model release stating that their image will not be used for certain purposes – but once out in the wild – they could end up anywhere – and the photographer can’t do anything about it. The Getty contract is suitably vague, and even if you pull out of the programme, you can’t recover images already sold.
“We’ve heard you, and we’ve met with Google and are working with them to refine the implementation which we believe will address some of the concerns raised over the past several days–including copyright ownership.”
Maybe the agreement will be changed. I’ll be watching to see how this one develops.