Fox Business News anchor Deirdre Bolton caught up with Getty Images Co-Founder and CEO Jonathan Klein at Web Summit 2014 to talk about pictures, innovation and how the world has gone “content crazy.”

Most importantly, they discussed how this year, for the first time, Getty Images began allowing free, non-commercial use of about 60 million images through it’s embed functionality.

Watch more:

From the Fox Business News interview [3:53]:

Jonathan Klein: Eight months ago we decided to give our images away, so we launched embed, and we said, ‘If you’re not using these pictures for commercial purposes — to make money — you can share them any way you want.’ So in eight months, we’ve got 1 billion views, every time with a Getty Images name.

Deirdre Bolton: You’ve gone through a similar questioning — a similar dilemma, let’s call it — as the newspaper industry, as the music industry. So what is that fine line, what is that balance, between, as you say, making sure people get paid for their work while also being user friendly and accessible?

Jonathan Klein: Well, we don’t know exactly where the line is, but we’ve decided where we want to draw it.


Embed, Disruption, Search

Jonathan also spoke with Digiday President and Editor In Chief, Brian Morrisey at Web Summit about embed, disruption and how search engines make it easy for anyone to steal intellectual property  (namely, pictures) via their platforms.

From the Web Summit interview [12:50]:

Brian Morrisey: So you feel strongly that intellectual property is something that should be respected, right?

Jonathan Klein: Yeah, absolutely.

Brian Morrisey: It seems like the images business has a problem with this, in that not a lot of people do respect the intellectual property of images.

Jonathan Klein: I think you’re right. I think if we go back to the beginning of the web, at the beginning of the web, the only thing that you could easily transmit because of bandwidth concerns was words. And they were largely free. And then your world [media] figured out that you might have paywalls, etc. The next thing was music … until iTunes and Spotify made it easier for people to pay very little (or nothing at all) than to steal. Humans don’t really like stealing.

Brian Morrisey: What about the tech platforms that possibly enable that? Napster obviously enabled the stealing of music, and I think, in the images case, you could argue that Google is facilitating the theft of images.

Jonathan Klein: So what we’ve done is… Two rules that I always have is you don’t stand in the way of customer behavior and you don’t stand in the way of technology advancement. So what we saw with the sharing economy that there is, and the number of images that are shared every day, we took the view about seven months ago to make our images free. So, as one of the speakers yesterday from another stage said, ‘Provided you’re not using these images for commercial purposes and making money out of them, you can use them for free.’

“Two rules that I always have is you don’t stand in the way of customer behavior and you don’t stand in the way of technology advancement.”

So today we’ve got about 60 million Getty Images images that you can embed on your blogs, Facebook, share it, etc., and that embed feature works. In seven months we’ve had about a billion views and it’s growing like crazy. People like pictures.

Our problem, and it’s something which I don’t expect a tech audience to necessarily be sympathetic… [but] the bottom line is that the search engines are going away from their original purpose, which was to send you to a place where you could transact. And [they] are essentially trying to keep you there longer. And when it comes to music, they’re still prepared to send you someplace else: Spotify, iTunes.

But for some reason or other, when there’s an image, a number of them have made it extremely easy to steal.

You click on the image, it gets bigger. There’s no attribution. There’s no link back. In fact, some companies, one of whom we’re suing, Microsoft, actually have a system which is, it’s basically how to steal: 1, 2, 3 steal.

We don’t like suing our customers, but we do believe (and, spending a day and a half at this conference where everybody is talking increasingly about how important content is, and content is important for engagement, and content marketing) —  we do believe that the pendulum is swinging in the direction of the content owners and the creators. The photographer in Iowa or Dublin who needs to be paid for that image in order to pay their bills — and to, frankly, survive.

…We’ll get there. I cannot see a world where intellectual property is free and we just rely on advertising.