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(CNN) — Online photo archive Getty Images is opening much of its trove of imagery to online publishers for free.
The company will allow "non-commercial" users such as social media posters to embed its images using a code similar to applications like YouTube. The image that appears will include a Getty photo credit and a link to the company's website, where viewers can have the opportunity to license the photo.
"This will provide people with a simple and legal way to utilize content that respects creators' rights, including the opportunity to generate licensing revenue," Getty said in a statement announcing the move. The decision "opens one of the largest, deepest and most comprehensive image collections in the world for easy sharing, thereby making the world an even more visual place."
Getty has more than 35 million photos and licenses them to a wide variety of organizations, from advertising agencies to news outlets like CNN.
Embedded pictures can't be used for advertising, it states.
But the move immediately raised questions about what constitutes commercial use and how photographers would be compensated when their work gets used.
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