World's largest stock images provider, Getty Images, will make its content free for non-commercial users after acknowledging its pictures were being aggressively used without proper licensing.
Users earlier had to pay to get licences for the images. Getty said the move was aimed at promoting the practice of self-publishing.
The photo service has decided to drop the watermark for the bulk of its collection, in exchange for an open-embed programme that would require users to add a footer at the bottom of the image with a credit and link to the licensing page.
Craig Peters, a business development executive at Getty Images, downplaying the risk of people using unlicensed versions, said if web publishers have a legal, free path to use the images, they would take it, opening up a new revenue stream for Getty and photographers, according to a report in The Verge.
The report said that once the images are embedded, Getty has much more control over the images as the company would be able to use embeds to plant ads or collect user information.