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Getty Refocuses Microstock Licensing Plan

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To entice frugal web designers to use Gettyimages.com, the Seattle-based stock photo company now offers licenses for very small images not previously offered on Getty, or even microstock sites such as iStockphoto, Fotolia and Shutterstock.

These micro-images, ideal for web and mobile products, come in two sizes: 170 or 280 pixels wide. Getty expects these types of photos to be used for e-mail, websites, web ads, banners, mobile apps and sites, intranets, web applications and other digital projects.

Getty's low-resolution, web & mobile‚ files start at $5 for royalty-free use of a 170-pixel image and $15 for a 280-pixel image. In addition, Getty still offers rights to slightly larger 413-pixel-wide, rights-managed images starting at $49. The rights-managed licenses, however, come with some restrictions, including a three-month time limit and the use of the image on only one webpage.

In contrast, microstock sites such as iStockphoto, which is owned by Getty, typically charge as little as $1 for a 425-pixel photo and around $30 for an extra-large 3,000-pixel photo. Getty's tiny-image category offers licenses for pictures that are smaller than what microstock sites currently offer, and it allows users to purchase high volumes of web images at very low prices.

When Getty first offered a $49 rights-managed license for 413-pixel, low-res images in 2007, it received objections from seven photo industry trade groups. Finding that customers were not always satisfied with the cost and quality of micro-stock images, Getty created these web and mobile licenses to offer its high-quality images to the web market as well.

One advantage of this new micro-pricing plan is that photographers can easily branch into small-scale photography without switching to a microstock site. These miniature images are currently available throughout the majority of Getty's creative stills collection.