Contributor Community

Introduction To Working With Getty Images

Wednesday January 15, 2014

Thanks for considering working with Getty Images to represent some of your images. Here are some of the basics you should know about working with us.

To make it easier for you to find the information you need we've set up this FAQ about four major topics:
1. Introduction to stock photography and Getty Images.
2. How are images licensed and used?
3. Contract basics.
4. Enrollment -- How to sign up with us.
5. Exclusivity -- what it means to you.
6. Additional FAQs.

1. Introduction to stock photography and Getty Images.

What is stock photography?
Stock photography is a collection or archive of images that can be licensed for use. It's a way for companies or individuals to obtain photographs without having to hire a photographer for a specific shoot.

What does it mean to "license" my images?
Getty Images doesn't actually SELL your images because you always retain the ownership of the copyright. Instead we LICENSE the rights to the customer to use your image. Licensing is similar to leasing. Your ownership of the image does not change and a licensing fee is paid for the rights to use the images based on the licensing model through which they are licensed and the rights the customer is purchasing (how and where they will use the image).

What are the benefits of working with Getty Images to license my images?
Getty Images has a phenomenal platform, licensing expertise and a worldwide customer base. By working with Getty Images, your pictures have a better opportunity to be seen and licensed more often than anywhere else.
  • Getty Images is a proven leader in image licensing -- we license your existing images while you are out making great new images.
  • We offer wide exposure to all levels of image buyers worldwide.
  • Broad reach and exposure of your images means the potential for an increased number of sales vs. your selling directly.
  • Our platform is truly international, allowing buyers worldwide to search in multiple languages and make purchases using multiple currency choices, 24/7.
  • We guide you through the process of making your images ready for licensing.
  • We know what our customers are looking for and our editors are selecting accordingly.
  • You are joining a world-class list of emerging and well-known artists who already contribute to our collections.
  • We have a robust system for monitoring and investigating potential copyright infringements.

    2. How are images licensed and used?

    How will my images be used?
    The options really are endless. On a billboard? In a book or a magazine article? On a popular website?
    It's important you understand that any Getty customer can license the work you contribute to Getty Images. Once they have purchased a license for its use, it might turn up anywhere. Getty Images prohibits any use that is defamatory or pornographic, so there are some ways you should not expect to see your images used.

    What is Commercial use vs. Editorial use?
    Generally speaking, "commercial use" means a message intended to help sell a product, raise money or
    to promote something. An example would be an advertising, promotional, marketing, advertorial or
    merchandising use. This is in contrast to an "editorial use" intended to report a newsworthy event or
    illustrate a matter of general interest.

    What are the two types of image license models?
    Royalty-free (RF) -- Royalty-free images are licensed at set prices based upon the file-size the customer purchases. The end-use is not specified (though certain types of uses that are defamatory, pornographic or illegal are banned) so the customer has a lot of flexibility in how they use the images, and can use them multiple times.
  • Can be used by the customer multiple times in various situations without additional licensing fees.
  • Are able to be used by the customer for an unlimited time frame.
  • Are never licensed with exclusivity.
  • Number of sales per image (volume) is generally higher than that of the Rights managed collections
  • Are priced affordably according to file size.
  • Works well for the growing market of customers with small projects and budgets, and customers who aren't concerned about how many others are using the same image.

    Rights-managed (RM) -- Rights-managed works are licensed on a use-by-use basis. Price of the license takes size, placement, duration of use and geographic distribution into account. (Getty Images has built a calculator for this.) Exclusive rights to work are available for rights-managed products.
  • Are licensed on a use-by-use basis.
  • Are generally priced according to the nature of the license and intended use.
  • Need to be relicensed for any new use or extension of territory, distribution or duration.
  • Are able to be licensed exclusively.
  • Are perfect for customers who want some element of awareness or control over the image's use.

    Further details and copies of the license agreements that we issue to customers ("end user license agreements"), for each of these license models can be found via the "License Information" link at the bottom of every page on our website:

    3. Contract basics.

    I have to sign a contract with Getty Images? Why is that?
    The main reason for the contract is because you own the copyright and Getty Images will be selling your work on your behalf, and they need a way to pay you. It's important that you are crystal clear on the terms for how your photos will be licensed, and that you agree to those terms. As with any legal document, there's nothing stopping you from having your lawyer look things over if you're unsure about anything.

    Is there an overview of what a relationship with Getty Images involves?
    Sure -- but remember, this is a legally binding relationship so before committing to work with us, you should read the full Sample Agreement to ensure you fully understand it, and seek advice from a business advisor or lawyer if it will help you feel more comfortable with your decision. Here are a few key features of a contributor relationship with Getty Images. When you sign-on...
    You agree:
  • All the images you submit are your original work.
  • There are no uses or limitations to the images that could interfere with the rights you are granting us.
  • Only Getty Images may license the images and Similars (defined in the Agreement and FAQ) you place with us while the Agreement is in effect (Getty Images will have exclusive licensing rights).
  • Your images may be altered by our customers, distributors or us to suit the use for which it is marketed or licensed (but you always retain the copyright to your underlying image).
    You retain the right:
  • To the copyright of your image.
  • To market images that are not the same as, or Similar (defined in the Agreement and FAQ) to what you place with us.
  • To choose which images to place with us, prior to final submission.
  • To keep the image you place with us in only personal, noncommercial photo-sharing services such as Flickr.
  • To sell limited edition, signed and/or numbered fine art prints. Or for images selected as RF, non-limited-edition prints, t-shirts, and other merchandise if you sell them directly (without a third party agent).
    We agree:
  • Not to permit our clients to license images for any uses that are defamatory, pornographic or otherwise illegal.
  • To pay you a royalty for each license made of your image, according to the Agreement.
    We retain the right:
  • To move images between license models on Getty Images.
  • To determine the terms and pricing of licenses.
  • To act on your behalf to stop defamatory, pornographic or otherwise illegal use.
  • To exclusively pursue and defend copyright infringements and unauthorized uses unless we notify you we will not.
  • To honor any licenses granted to our clients made before termination of the Agreement and to renew licenses which extend beyond the termination date, one time after termination (royalties paid as usual).
  • To use images in the collection at no cost, for promotion, marketing or advertising, related to Getty Images or our Distributors.

    How long are my images available for licensing with Getty Images and how and when do the terms of the Contributor Agreement end?
    The Term of the Agreement begins as of the Commencement Date (the month you sign it) and will continue for an initial period of 1 (one) year, with automatic renewals of successive one-year periods. You may terminate the Agreement without cause at any time by providing 90 (ninety) days written notice (subject to exceptions relating to certain editorial Content as provided in Section 5). Getty Images may only terminate this Agreement without cause at the end of the initial one-year period or at the end of any successive one-year period by providing 90 (ninety) days prior written notice. If neither party terminates, the agreement will automatically renew for one year periods. Automatic in this case means that unless we decide to terminate the Agreement, you won't receive any notice of the approaching end of your term.

    After the agreement is terminated, Getty Images has the right to allow any customer licenses that are active at the time of termination, to continue until they expire. In addition, those particular customers have a one-time-only right (or up to five times only in the case of licenses for educational uses) to renew that license on substantially the same terms, provided that there is no break in the licensing period.

    4. Enrollment -- How to sign up with us.

    What's involved in enrolling as a Getty Images Contributor?

    If you receive an invitation to join Getty Images, you'll be asked to create an account with us, so you become a Getty Contributor. The signup process takes a little while, because it involves setting yourself up to receive payments if/when licenses are purchased for your work. Getty Images handles the taxation side of things too, so your Contributor account will need to include details about all that. You might like to read Getty Images' Privacy Policy.

    Here are the main steps involved:

    1. Profile -- Your name, email address, mailing address, whether you're signing up as an individual or a business.

    2. Payments -- Getty Images can pay Contributors almost anywhere in the world. So, you'll need to tell us where in the world you'd like to be paid and details about how to pay you, like your Paypal account, or bank account information.

    3. Taxes -- Getty Images will be generating the relevant tax documentation expected by the country where you will be paid, so will need to know your taxation number.

    4. Agreement -- You'll be signing a contract with Getty Images because we're helping to sell your work on your behalf. At this step you'll be able to review the agreement based on the information you've entered. You'll have 60 days from the time you get the invitation to digitally sign the agreement before it expires and you'll need to start again.

    5. Confirmation -- The final step, it's your chance to review everything you've entered against your (nearly) new Getty Images Contributor account. It's here that you'll actually agree to the agreement you reviewed in the previous step, and once you do, your new account will be opened.

    What is the Contributor Agreement document?
    The Contributor Agreement document is an agreement between you and Getty Images confirming the terms for the licensing and distribution of your images. To confirm that you agree with the terms, you sign and submit the agreement document online as the last step in the enrollment process.

    What is meant by the term 'independent contractor'?
    You are signing the Agreement as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee. This means that we do not control how you execute the work you do, we do not provide benefits as we would an employee, and you are responsible for your expenses and taxes.

    Is the Contributor Agreement legally binding?
    Yes. The Contributor Agreement is a legally binding contract confirming that you agree to the terms outlined by Getty Images relating to the licensing and distribution of your images.

    Before I sign the Contributor Agreement, can I have my lawyer review it?
    Yes. During the enrollment process, you can download and print a hardcopy of a sample agreement to review before you sign it. You have 60 days to complete the enrollment process.

    Why do I need to enroll?
    Because we will be helping you market and license your images, and sending you royalty payments if your images are licensed, we will need you to sign a legal agreement and provide personal information such as your mailing address, bank and tax information.

    How much does it cost to enroll or participate in the service?
    Enrolling and participating in the service is free.

    What type of information do I need in order to complete the enrollment process?
    There are four basic categories of the enrollment process. The following is a list of information that you might want to have available:

    Enrollment category
    Type of information you might be asked to provide

    Mailing address
    Email address

    Country where you bank
    PayPal account details
    Electronic funds transfer (EFT) bank account details

    Country where you pay taxes
    If applicable (depending on your country) US taxpayer identification number (TIN), Employer Identification number (EIN) or social security number (SSN).

    Photo credit line, which is the name you want to display with your images.

    How long do I have to complete the enrollment process?
    You'll have 60 days from the time you get the invitation to digitally sign the agreement before it expires and you'll need to start again.

    After I sign the Contributor Agreement, how soon does it take effect?
    The agreement takes effect on the first day of the month (the "Commencement Date") that you sign the agreement. Sometimes that means that the commencement date actually pre-dates your having signed the agreement, but since the agreement governs images that are accepted into the collection, there is nothing to bind you to these terms unless and until you submit an image. Once you finalize the Agreement and submit it, you can immediately begin using the online process to upload your images, assign releases, and submit your images for review.

    Can I enroll as a business?
    Yes. If you have a business license and will be using your business name, bank and tax information, you can enroll as a business. Otherwise, you can enroll as an individual.

    Is my personal information shared with anyone?
    No. Getty Images does not share your personal information with any outside parties. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

    How do I make changes to my personal information such as my mailing address or bank information?
    To make changes to your personal information, please login to the Contributor Upload Portal or for Flickr/Moment contributors the Getty Images Contributor site then click "Contact Us" in the row of links at the top of the page. Click the "Contact Us" tab and you can send us the information.

    Can I change the name that I entered in the "Image credit line" box during the enrollment process?
    No. You cannot change the name that you entered in the Image credit line box when you enrolled in the service.

    What is the "credit line"?
    For our purposes, a credit line (usually your name) is how we identify you as the author of your picture. Your credit line appears along with your image and other information about the image in the image detail screen on (after you click the thumbnail). The credit line is also how you (and customers who want to) can search specifically for your images using an advanced search, by "photographer." NOTE: Please be sure to provide exactly what you want to appear on our website with your image. YOU CANNOT CHANGE IT once it has been entered. Website addresses and email addresses are not permitted in credit lines.

    5. Exclusivity -- what it means to you.

    What does it mean for me to grant Getty Images "exclusive rights" to license my image?
    It means you agree not to compete with Getty Images by licensing the image or Similars yourself, or through any third-party. On a non-exclusive basis, you can use your images and any Similars for personal, self-promotional (non-commercial) use including Photo Sharing. You can do so as long as you do not compete with or limit the rights granted to Getty Images under the Contributor Agreement. You are not restricted however, from licensing totally different, non-Similar images either yourself or via another third-party photo library.

    What if an image I want to submit to Getty Images is already on another stock agency site?
    In general, if an image is already out in the market it is usually better to leave it where it is than to move it, as you are nearly always going to experience some time when the image is not available from either place and potential lost income. The final decision is up to you but remember that your contract with us stipulates that any images you place with us must be exclusively available for licensing through Getty Images and nowhere else. This also includes any images that are substantially similar to the images submitted.

    What if I have already licensed or given permission to a person or company to use the image myself?
    If that usage you granted has been completed and the person or company is no longer using the image, that's fine. However, if there is a chance that they are still using it or may be using it in the future you must disclose that to us, along with details of the use, at the time you submit the image. At that point we will determine if that prior usage presents a problem for our ability to license the image and we will either accept or reject the image based on that information.
    PLEASE NOTE: If the image has ever appeared on a site under a Royalty-Free license model, or if it has been available via a Creative Commons license (on Flickr or elsewhere) IT CANNOT BE PLACED IN A RIGHTS-MANAGED COLLECTION on Getty Images. Additionally, if it has appeared on another site under a Rights-Managed model, you must be sure that it has NO outstanding licenses or uses still in effect before submitting it to us.

    Am I free to sell my images (or Similars) represented by Getty Images to an art gallery?
    Yes, but only as limited edition, signed and/or numbered fine art prints if the image is licensed through an RM collection. However for images selected as RF, you may sell the images as non-limited-edition prints, t-shirts, and other merchandise if you sell them yourself or via an online or physical store, not through a license to a third party.

    Am I free to enter my images (or Similars) represented by Getty Images in a competition?
    In most cases, yes, as that would qualify as self-promotional. However, you have to be cautious and read the terms and conditions of the competition carefully. Some competitions claim additional rights to the images that are entered, to use them for advertising and other uses not directly related to the competition itself. The main thing to watch out for is in the fine print if they are saying they automatically get the right to use your images in other advertising, etc. not specifically related to the competition. Usually that's more common when it's a company sponsoring the contest rather than a publication or organization. So just keep an eye out that you're not giving away more than you intend because those additional uses could be in conflict.
    The rights to the photos should be limited to the context of the competition.

    How can I tell when an image is "Similar"?
    We define Similar in the agreement. For more information about Similars, please refer to the Similars Guide.


    Royaties, Statements, and Taxes

    Copyright, License Models, and "Moral Rights"

    Model and Property Releases


    Submissions, Uploads, and Metadata