IMGembed provides an easy and free way for anyone to use a licensed image on their site through HTML embedding, while ensuring creators get credited.
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Back in 2012, stock and news photography agency Getty Images embarked on the Watermark Project, which redesigned the way it protected images from being used illegitimately and added a shortlink to make them more useful. Now, it's investing in a new service called IMGembed, which provides an easy and free way for anyone to use a licensed image on their site through HTML embedding, while ensuring creators get credited.
For a while now the web has posed a difficult dilemma for content creators — how can they take advantage of the exposure of online sharing while also being able to make money from their product? In the case of photography, it's usually as easy as a right click to own a version of an image found on the web, whether it's copyrighted or not. This is the reason that Getty has now handed over a part of its collection to IMGembed, where users can choose between free or paid premium use.
Much like video and widget embedding, the service gives users a code to insert into their blog posts or Twitter and Tumblr updates that automatically loads the image along with an attribution bar along the bottom. Site owners don't need to host the images, while companies such as Getty get more control over their content. The free service is good for those who will see lower than 10,000 impressions on their post, and only need image widths of 900px or less. The premium service gives users full usage control, unlimited impressions, up to 2000px image widths and takes away the attribution bar.
Below is an example of what an embedded photo from the service looks like:
Whether embedding is the right route to go down given the way that it can lead holes in blog posts when the original content gets taken down or licenses get changed will remain to be seen. However, IMGembed gives web users a legal and ethically sound way to use decent quality, watermark-free images without cost, while ensuring creators get proper attribution that can lead to revenue opportunities. Are there other ways to benefit both creators and consumers when it comes to digital content?