Getty Images

Getty Images

Getty Images, Inc. (NYSE|GYI) is a stock photo agency, based in Seattle, Washington, USA.

It is a supplier of stock images for business and consumers with an archive of 70 million still images and illustrations and more than 30,000 hours of stock film footage. It targets three markets — creative professionals (advertising and graphic design), the media (print and online publishing), and corporate communication departments for other businesses.

Getty has distribution offices around the world and capitalizes on the Internet and CD-ROM collections for distribution. The company also offers custom photo services for corporate clients.


In 1993, Mark Getty and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Klein co-founded Getty Investments LLC, which today is the principal shareholder of Getty Images. Mark Getty is the company's chairman.

In September 1997, Getty Communications, as it was called at the time, merged with PhotoDisc, Inc. to form Getty Images.

In September 2007, Getty Images adopted a new pricing policy for web image sales that has caused a great deal of controversy among photographers. This policy created a new price package of only $49 for small web images. Controversially, this price was intended to apply to both "rights-managed" and "royalty-free" images. In the past, rights-managed images have commanded a price that could easily be 10 times that amount. As a result, a number of international photographers' organizations have complained to Getty. The repricing has occurred at a time when Getty Images' share price and profitability have been under pressure.

The Getty family owns about 20 percent of the company.


There are dozens of companies selling stock photography competing with Getty, but the largest is a public company formerly known as, named Jupitermedia Corporation, and a private company controlled by Bill Gates, named Corbis. By buying out the many family-owned businesses that created the field, Getty, Jupiter and Corbis—are in the process of "rolling-up" the stock photo business. In recent months, Getty bought out Digital Vision, iStockphoto, and Stockbyte, and Jupiter bought Comstock and PictureArts.


In 2004, Getty bought for $20 million USD. [ — [ About] ] On February 9, 2006, the controversial microstock photo website iStockphoto was acquired by Getty Images for $50 million USD. [" [ Getty Images Buys For $50 Million] " (Photo District News)] In 2007, Getty successfully purchased its largest competitor, MediaVast, for $207mil. The acquisition meant that Getty Images gained control of WireImage (Entertainment, creative, and sports photography), FilmMagic (fashion and red carpet photography), Contour Photos (portrait and studio photography) and a host of other subsidiaries including "Master Delegates" who include: Gallo Images in Johannesburg, Touchline Photo in Cape Town, Isifa Image Service in Prague, Laura Ronchi in Italy [ [ Getty Images Acquires Its Italian Master Delegate, Laura Ronchi, S.p.A.] ]

ale of company

In February 2008 it was announced that Getty Images would be acquired by Hellman & Friedman in a transaction valued at an estimated US$2.4 billion. [ [ Getty Images Press Release 25 February 2008] ]

Copyright enforcement

Getty Images uses a firm called PicScout to scan the web and, for unauthorized and unlicensed usages of its protected images. Websites that are found to be in violation are queried via the Whois database and sent financial settlements that retroactively licensed the image. However, the settlements also demand damages, which are said to have been incurred against the copyright holder. Thousands of these letters have been sent out, yet according to the Wall Street Journal in October 2005, Getty had not taken any of these potential cases to court. [" [ Photo Agencies Scour the Web For Copyright Violations] " (Wall Street Journal)] [" [ Web designers get grouchy over Getty] " (The Register)] However, Getty published a notice to its contributors describing how a court decision in New York makes it more difficult to obtain damages for infringement. [" [ A message to Getty Images contributors] " (] The article does not state whether Getty Images was a party involved in the court case. Their corporate counsel for copyright enforcement is Laura Malone, who used to work in the entertainment industry as an actress. [" [ Fair Use for Documentary Filmmakers - NYWIFT panel] " (zoom in online)] Recently, Getty Images lost a lawsuit in Germany [" [,1518,547234,00.html Lost lawsuit] " (German newsmagazine DER SPIEGEL)] . Getty claimed unauthorized usage, but the defendant could prove authorized usage as he had bought retroactively a license directly from the photographer.


External links

* [ Getty Images]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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