back to article Getty dips into Flickr to beef up photo stock

Flickr fanciers will soon be able to make cash out of the photos they post online following a secret deal inked with the world’s leading photo agency, Getty Images. The two firms agreed yesterday that high-quality images posted on Yahoo!’s Flickr service could be cherry-picked by Getty editors searching for interesting …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    How long until ...

    someone caught in a "candid" shot which is optioned to Getty sues for the uncompensated use of his image in an advert?

    I can see the lawyers lining up even now.

  2. Andy Barber
    Thumb Up

    Let the money...

    ...roll in!

  3. Ian Ferguson


    I imagine the professional photographers who currently contribute to Getty are extremely careful about rights... Flickr amateurs less so. How do Getty authenticate that a Flickr photo is an original? What about permission of people and property in photos? (laws vary across countries)

    'Can' and 'worms' spring to mind.

  4. Frumious Bandersnatch

    it's a tarp!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @How long until ...

    I doubt Getty would accept any image that had one or more identifiable people in it without a model release.

  6. Seán


    At last I'll be rightly reimbursed for all those pictures of my bollocks I've been uploading. Do they pay by the inch or the pound, or is it some metric system?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Photo rights

    As far as I'm aware, you don't need model releases or compensation for pictures taken in public places? Obviously photographers don't have to get the permission of everyone in a stadium when they shoot a football game. Or is it only required if the subject is used in a specific context - that is, isn't 'collateral' in the image?

    Anybody know?

  8. Steve

    Candid shots UK

    In the UK there is no right to privacy in a public place, hence newspapers publish photos all the time that the subjects would rather they didn't. So it's pretty obvious that no release forms are required if the photo is in a public place.

  9. The Avangelist

    yes you do

    You have to have model releases for anything you shoot which depicts a person(s).

    If you do not it entitltes said person to claim royalties or sue your sweet ass.

    That is the same in any country, just nobody bothers to do it.

  10. Jiminy Krikett
    Paris Hilton

    Model releases...

    You only need a model release if the people in images can identify themselves, and, group photos, of stadiums for example, are generally covered by notices posted at said stadiums informing visitors that photography is undertaken and by attending such is approval enough. Even without this notice, public group photography is generally allowed in editorial/reportage instances, and where do you most see Getty images? In the press, of course.

    Of all the images I've submitted to various stock photography sites, none allow any image to be used in a derogatory way. For instance, taking a stock photo of some pretty lass, smiling, wouldn't ordinarily be allowed to advertise haemorrhoid cream, without specific rights/clauses in the release, i.e. the model would be made aware of the intended use prior to the shoot.

    Getty, being a rather top notch stock supplier, would without question only use images from Flickr that it would be able to obtain releases from the photographer/model in question.

    Personally, I think this Flickr/Getty partnership is fantastic news for budding togs out there capable of taking pukka pics!

    Paris, cuz she likes a bit of exposure :D

  11. Tim Bates

    Re: Photo rights

    Depends on the country (and state).

    General rule for Australia, for example, is that you don't need any permission or release forms unless you use the photo in a form of advertising (including front covers of books, magazines, etc, which technically advertise the content).

    In USA though, I would be extremely careful about photos I didn't have a release form for... Everything varies from state to state (and with 50 of them, that's a lot to keep up with). And people over there are much more likely to sue people for nothing regardless of the laws.

  12. Steven Jones

    Model releases

    The requirement for a "model release", at least in UK law applies to cases where identifiable individuals are used for commercial purposes - such as advertising or promotional usage. Many large organised events, such as music festivals and sports events have conditions on their tickets which explicitly state that you will allow your image to be used for such purposes.

    You do not need "model release" where pictures are not used directly for commercial promotion. For instance, in news stories or other general purposes. After all, the photographers chasing the likes of Amy McDonald do not pay her royalties. However, should such a photograph be used to promote a product (quite what product that might be, I can't imagine) then that would require agreement. Of course it's a grey area, but I'm quite sure that Getty images know all about this - in fact you'll find the images they do hold have such conditions already. For instance pictures of musicians are often tagged as for use in news/journalistic news.

    Pictures taken in privately owned grounds are subject to whatever conditions are applied by the owner. For instance, come performers don't want their picture taken (like Prince or, judging by Cornbury, Paul Simon).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Photo Rights

    Link to PDF on UK Photographers Rights -->

    and another link to UK photography rights-->

    Never hurts to know what you're talking about...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @photo rights

    Basically one can use a photo for any purpose and the person can sue if the context is deemed defamatory, either directly (as in someone doing something they wouldn't want seen, as in invasion of privacy) or indirectly, as in using a picture for a laxative advertisement. There's no law in the UK or USA against pictures of individuals or groups in a public place, there's no specific text that deems an individual's image or representation as "private". Picture libraries tend to steer clear of images without a model release, because there's more profit in providing images that can be used without any legal encumbrance.

    Uma Thurman can sue if her image is used by a company endorsing a product, Google can map what they want in the UK although there may be a "using someone's image for commercial gain" legal argument. It's drinks all round for the lawyers at the bar, and cocaine in the toilets for the advertising execs searchign for "authenticity".

  15. Chris Judd


    It's usually in the t&c when you buy tickets for televised events that you accept that you may be filmed.

  16. Stef

    re: photo rights

    You'll need a model release for anyone who can be identified in a photo, even if it is taken in a public place.

    The only way you can not use a photo without a release form is if it is for editorial/news use. Stadium shots in a newspaper/magazine for an article are ok, not for an advert.


    Then again, why would you want to take a photograph? are you a paedo-terrorist coming to steal our souls? Can I see your papers?

    Mine's the one in black made by Hugo Boss with the eagles on the arms.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Armchair Experts

    I think we can safely assume that Getty know more about model release requirements than most of us...

  18. Gianni

    Getty do know more

    Sure Getty do know more about rights of image that is precisely why they have been bustin pro photographers's @&##&cks with all sort of imaginable releases (property releases, model releases etc.). The argument then about privacy/UK is not true or just partially and this because there is a huge difference between using a recognizible face in a image for a personal exhibition (say you are Salgado and you are displaying your reportage work) and running the very same image on 48 sheet posters say on the all of London or worse the UK territory and making a huge profite from that. What's more regardless of UK laws the point is much wider since Getty are a global firm and may wish to sell that image on US territory and maybe say the image was taken in the UK of london bridge with a skater in the foreground and say the skater was actually a US citizen that recognizes himself on billboards in Chicago advertising say a well know airline company flying to London -this is just an example -...well well guess what, if I were that skater I'd sue the hell out of the Ad company that used that image and in return they'd do the same to Getty...hmm you know what I guess I'll do?... a lot of skating along the Thames in the future just in case someone takes my picture then thinks of selling it...I'll invite you to my villa in Malibu courtesy of the Photo Library once I get compensation...

    If I were a future non professional contributor to any Photo Library's collection via Third party image sources I'd read very well the fine line before signing anything...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A slight problem

    Photographers often don't post their pictures to Flickr more than a few hundred pixels to avoid them getting ripped off, so Getty are going to miss out on a lot of high quality images purely because only low res are uploaded by any decent photogs who don't want their pics nicked.

    Sounds pointless to me. Getty would be better off opening up their own secondary stock agency with enough staff to filter the masses of cr*p that'll come their way.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Rights

    There is a lot of misinformed comments about rights and laws above - but what do you expect when the Police treat photographers as potential terrorists – but there is a difference between law and what rights you might actually have, as most companies will protect themselves from potential bad press – hence model release statements

    But I can see it - Getty will be suing photographers for having images they took, on their own websites just because Getty have brought some rights from the photograph from Flickr

  21. Gianni

    Photo Libraries/Orphan works

    One possible explanation may be in the Orphan works one peace of US legislation (not sure if it has already been passed) that may allow works on the web that are "orphans" (no traceable author - i.e: no Author in their EXIF files -the files containing info such as Author of the image, Camera datas etc.) to be used by "adoptive dad's"? Imagine a imaginary photo library "finding" "orphan works" on a image source...and what if the image source had hundreds of thousand, even better millions of orphans? You bet they'd be very glad to become "adoptive dads". You may wish to verify terms and conditions to sites you submit images may not be getting a single penny of future sales of your own imagery...interesting perspective isn't it? That applies to Amateurs photo competitions too..

  22. Martin

    @Michelle Knight

    A good point, but I would imagine that Getty would contact the photographer to request the full resolution version of any photo chosen.

  23. Gianni

    Re:@Michelle Knight Photo Libraries/Orphan works

    yes sure they could but why? You are probably aware some Photolibraries are proposing "forfait" fees for web based rights only...these images may easily find their way in this "forfait" collection that at exactly the same res they are displayed at now...and at no cost to the library...think about it...

  24. Anonymous Coward


    I would hope so, but with such a mass of pictures even with a honed keyword search they're going to miss a mass of product. People are generally on the nose for rights issues and if this goes ahead (as i interpret it) Flickr will need to make a change to the terms and conditions ... that is going to make people look at them and it is only going to take one person to work out the discrepancy and shout about it and everyone with an objection will pull their pictures ... me included. I don't give anyone other than flickr the rights to use my images, and that is for the purpose of the site itself only.

    Long story short - if they try and build in the rights automatically, they'll cause a riot. There has already been so much theft of images from Flickr that people are cagy. There are some images I hold the rights to and I actuall don't WANT to sell. As all photos belong to an account, Getty have got no reason for not contacting the person the image relates to ... so I can't actually see what they're trying to get at, they can dredge the library and contact people now ... but I'm sure going to be keeping a very close eye on this one.

  25. Axdyne
    Gates Horns

    Getty already owns

    Already owning the largest collection of user-submitted stock photos in the world, this new deal puts Getty in the right position to have a monopoly on the industry (look out Corbis). They tout the monetary gain for Flickr users getting $250-$500 for the use of their images, but I imagine the agency (Getty) is taking the lion's share of the profit.

  26. TimM

    Do Getty get all rights to your photo?

    Once you agree to get your (likely small) financial reward, is there a catch such as all rights are signed over to Getty and you no longer "own" the photo as such?

    Though not sure any clause could sign away copyright, but they can have lifetime exclusive rights.

    What basis do they pay anyway? A one off fee, or royalties?

    Problem is, most of this stuff undermines the whole stock photo market. Used to be you could earn £100s for the use of a stock photo whereas now you'd be lucky to get £1.

    I can see Getty likely sees Flickr as a source of cheap photos from users who are just happy to be asked. No where near as bad as the BBC and Sky who get their photos free from gullible mugs who send in photos of events.

    I wonder what Getty will do also if you have your photos flagged for commercial use. Likely you won't be getting an email invite, they just use them regardless. On the flip side if you have them as 'all rights reserved' (as anyone with sense should), then do you get an invite at all?

    Still, at least they are offering money. Most just ask to use without any offer of money, and many more just steal.

  27. Terry

    Canadian Perspective

    I work in the news media and have sat through countless legal seminars. Bottom line in Canada is if I can see it from a public place I can take a picture of it and post it. I've taken thousands of pictures over the years and never used a model release or consent form. However, all my images are used in a news/current affairs/information context. Anyone who is producing an ad will use an actor and go through the full meal contract deal. Still - there's lots of grey. A TV station in Ontario was sued by a couple of pretty young women whose images the station used to open its late night blue movies. The girls were roller blading in a park when a cameraman captured their images. The judge ruled in favour of the girls. Had the piece been used in a newscast or documentary they would have lost. It all depends on how the image is used. I think Getty has enough lawyers to weed out anything which will be a problem.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    T&C - Unfair Contract Terms

    terms printed on ticket are unlikely to stand up as you only see the T&C after you have bought the ticket (and entered into the terms)

    Ok to print them just no basis in law

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