Getty Images, one of the world’s largest and best known repositories of stock images, has made over 35 million of its images available for free in an effort to curb online rights infringement of its assets. The newly unveiled feature will see images from news, sports, entertainment and stock collections, as well as the Getty archives, available in much the same way as YouTube allows its videos to be embedded.

The senior vice president of business development, content and marketing at Getty Images, Craig Peters, said that the move to open up the images was done to counter the rampant patent infringement that Getty was seeing online. The problem with online media, according to Peters, is that “it’s incredibly easy to find content online and simply right-click to utilise it” and that the advent of Twitter and blogging has created “self publishers who typically don’t know anything about copyright and licensing, and who simply don’t have any budget to support their content needs.”

While the use of the images is free, they have to be embedded using the html code generated on the Getty Images site which will overlay details like the full copyright information and a link back to the image’s dedicated licensing page on the Getty Images website into the photo for those who want to use the photo elsewhere. The images are only licensed for non-commercial use however a Getty Images spokesperson, asked by the British Journal of Photography, confirmed that websites making money from services like Google Ads would still be allowed to embed the images as long as they were only used in an editorial context and not to promote anything.

Getty have reserved the right to monetise the embedded images with advertising in the future but for the moment will be utilising the data that it gains from the knowledge of who is using their images and what images are the most popular to further streamline its business to generate more money.