With Pinterest basically becoming a huge reservoir of images being shared, it made sense that it would partner with image agency Getty Images, which owns the rights to some 80 million still images, making up a huge percentage of Pinterest’s shared items.
Pinterest will pay Getty Images a fee and in return, the agency will provide Pinterest with meta-data on the images being shared on its platform. Pinterest explained why this would be useful in its blog post about the partnership.
“This [metadata] can include who took the image, when, where, and what’s in the picture. We think this will be really valuable, especially when pin descriptions and links are as not as helpful as we’d hope.”
Not only does the image get better descriptions (and proper attributions for the photographer,) Pinterest can then use the data to recommend other items that might be similar or of interest to the user, helping build engagement on the platform.
This is also a preemptive move by Pinterest to avoid the inevitable copyright fight that would have happened with Getty Images, especially since it’s now a legitimate business that is looking to make revenues. Speaking to TechCrunch last year, the images service had signaled that it might pursue future action as Pinterest grew. “We’re comfortable with people using our images to build traffic,” said Getty Images CEO and co-founder Jonathan Klein. “The point in time when they have a business model, they have to have some sort of license.”
Pinterest certainly has a business model now, recently raising $225 million in its latest funding round and slowly introducing ads to its platform. With the Getty Images partnership, pinned images are going to have better information within them, and Pinterest doesn’t have to worry about a copyright fight, a shrewd move on all accounts.