Following a number of high-profile copyright cases in the past year, it was broadcast this month that the world’s largest photo agency, Getty Images, has made a large chunk of its photo library free to use, in an effort to combat piracy. Many of the images are of popular sporting events, music concerts and global events, but there are some restrictions where sensitive subjects come into play – high-profile terrorist attacks and public protests are off limits. As you would expect, the announcement has received mixed responses from photographers, critics and industry experts alike.

The free images will be available to use across blogs and social media sites, but not for commercial use – newspapers, television channels and advertisers will continue to be charged.  However, industry figures have expressed concerns that this means many photographers will received limited, if any, remuneration for their images.  And where photography is used as the main source of livelihood, it’s understandable why it has raised some grievances.

The move comes after Getty acknowledged many of its images are used without permission anyway. While the images will be free to use and share, they won’t be able to be resized or altered, and the Getty watermark, plus a credit to the photographer will be visible on the image. However, photographers don’t necessarily work for ‘exposure’ and require some financial contribution to keep their business going.

Those in agreement with the movement argue Getty has simply evolved with the times. Many believe the photo agency has modernised its processes in an effort to transform the industry and encourage responsible image sharing. What do you think? Are you for or against?