Picture agency giant Getty Images has legalised the free use of tens of millions of images from its archives for non-commercial use online.

For the first time the public can embed images on their websites, blogs and social media through an embed tool, at no cost.

The move aims to give people a legal way to access image files from Getty’s massive picture library, without breaching copyright, to share on sites such as Twitter and WordPress.

‘Embedded images will include photographer attribution and, when clicked, will link back to www.gettyimages.com where the image can be licensed for commercial use,’ explained Getty in a statement released last night.

‘This will provide people with a simple and legal way to utilise content that respects creators’ rights, including the opportunity to generate licensing revenue.’

Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein added: ‘Images are the communication medium of today and imagery has become the world’s most spoken language.

‘Whether via a blog, website or social media, everyone is a publisher and increasingly visually literate.’

Reacting to the news, celebrity photographer Kevin Mazur told the agency: ‘You have to adapt to survive. Evolving to embrace technology that encourages responsible image sharing is the way forward for the industry.’

Getty adds that it reserves the right to place adverts next to the

‘Embedded Viewer’ (a platform used to view and access an image, for placement on websites, by

copying its HTML computer code).

Below is an image AP embedded into this article:

Terms and conditions, as stated on the

Getty Images website:

Embedded Viewer

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 monetise

its use without any compensation to you.

More follows…

For details visit the Getty Images website