Getty Images recently made the announcement that they would allow the free use of 35 million of their images for non-commercial use. This includes free use by publications as large as the New York Times and Buzzfeed, so long as the images are used in an editorial manner.
While the reality of “giving away” images for free is alarming enough to many photographers, Getty's implementation of embeddable images is somewhat worrying as well. Since Getty uses an iframe to deliver its content, it's actually quite easy to simple “crop out” the photo credit and social sharing links Getty has provided by making a very minor changing the embed code.
UPDATE: Getty appears to have resolved this issue — now, adjusting the dimensions of the iframe scales the entire image, ensuring the photo credit and share buttons are accessible regardless.
What Getty does is serve up a page that includes the image, credit, and sharing links. This page is embedded by an iframe, which basically loads this page in a small content area seamlessly. The problem with using this layout in an iframe is that the iframe has set dimensions.
Simply decreasing the height of the iframe to only the size of the image, one can very easily crop out the credit and sharing links. Links back to the Getty image page remains intact.
For example, changing the height of this image from 481 pixels…
To 420 pixels…
Has this effect on the image:
With regard to the terms of service, Getty has this to say about the embeddable image:
Where enabled, you may embed Getty Images Content on a website, blog or social media platform using the embedded viewer (the “Embedded Viewer”). Not all Getty Images Content will be available for embedded use, and availability may change without notice. Getty Images reserves the right in its sole discretion to remove Getty Images Content from the Embedded Viewer. Upon request, you agree to take prompt action to stop using the Embedded Viewer and/or Getty Images Content. You may only use embedded Getty Images Content for editorial purposes (meaning relating to events that are newsworthy or of public interest). Embedded Getty Images Content may not be used: (a) for any commercial purpose (for example, in advertising, promotions or merchandising) or to suggest endorsement or sponsorship; (b) in violation of any stated restriction; (c) in a defamatory, pornographic or otherwise unlawful manner; or (d) outside of the context of the Embedded Viewer.
Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you.
From reading this, it doesn't seem like altering the embed code is in violation of the terms of service.
Whatever you think of Getty's move to provide free, embeddable images, hopefully they will at least resolve this issue of being able to easily “crop out” the photography credit.
Is it likely that publications or individuals will go to the trouble of changing the iframe code should they use Getty's embeddable images, just to remove photo credit? It's doubtful. However, with photographer's increasingly getting marginalized, I thought that this easy hack to Getty's implementation of free images was worth some attention.