Getty Images signs controversial content deal with Google Drive

Getty Images has been hard pressed to explain how some of its contributors’ images ended up on Google’s suite of online applications. The deal was signed in autumn 2012 but wasn’t publicly disclosed until some of Getty’s photographers noticed that their images were available on Google Drive, as revealed by A Photo Editor.

Speaking to BJP, a Getty spokeswoman said: “Google licensed an initial pool of several thousand images from Getty Images and iStockphoto Royalty-Free collections for use by Google users through the Google Drive platform […] Royalties for these images were paid through Getty Images and were processed in October and paid in November 2012 based on a per-image price.”

Getty has so far declined to disclose how much its contributors made with this deal, but A Photo Editor’s source estimates it amounts to a single payment of $12.

According to Getty’s spokeswoman, Google Drive users “are granted rights to place this imagery in content created using Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Presentations, which end uses can be for commercial purposes.” She adds: “Google users are not granted rights to use this imagery outside the context of Google Drive created content. No rights are granted to Google users to redistribute image files outside of the context in which they’re used.”

BJP has asked Getty Images to clarify the amounts paid to photographers and whether more of its contributors’ images will be added to the Google Drive pool. We’ll update this article when we hear back from the stock agency.

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