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Marking time

Marking time in March 2014

Saturday 8 March 2014

Getty Images: free at last?

For years, Getty Images has tried to stop web publishers using images from its library of pictures unless they pay money to Getty. The company has tracked down pirates and chased them through the courts to recover licence fees. But, in a sudden re­ver­sal, the company has an­nounced a new scheme. Bloggers and other non-commercial users can use images on their web­sites at no charge​—​as long as the images remain on Getty’s servers and are displayed using Getty’s code.

I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. When I first heard about it, I didn’t see why Getty Images would do this. But now I do​—​thanks to Peter Krogh who has explained how this could be part of a cunning plan.

With that new understanding, and just as an experiment, I am happy to try it out. So here is a picture of a lighthouse, courtesy of Getty Images.

Hells Gate lighthouse at entrance to Macquarie Harbour, Strahan, Tas­ma­nia. A photograph by Steve Daggar, linked from the Getty Images col­lec­tion using the new ‘Embed this image’ system.

The lighthouse in this fine photograph is properly called the En­trance Island Light. The boat in the picture is passing through Hells Gate, the narrow en­trance to the harbour. I think the cam­era is looking across the shallow mouth of the harbour towards the rugged coastline to the north. It was taken from an elevated position, perhaps the upper deck of the Lady Jane Franklin II.

I like the way the morning light shows off the octagonal form of the wooden tower. There are few wooden lighthouse towers like this still standing in Australia. The 1891 Entrance Island light­house, and its companion on Bonnet Island about 300 m away inside the harbour, are the only ones I know still in ser­vice. Five of them, all built in the 1860s, survive in Queens­land in various states of repair, but none of them is lit.

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Getty Images: free at last?

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