The terms and conditions for the use of Getty images allows the free use of embedded images legally. As it says at the web site (http://www.gettyimages.com/embed)

"Share more than 50 million images. It's easy, legal and free."

However the terms and conditions page says this:

Content may not be used: (a) for any commercial purpose (for example, in advertising, promotions or merchandising)

So my question is this: If a church, a bona fide 501c3, is having a food festival, and the church's web site is used to publicize (one might say advertise the event) may the Getty content be properly used according to these terms? To put it another way, the imagery will be used in advertising, but the purpose is not commercial. The terms and conditions seems to assume that all advertising is commercial. Can I ignore their error, if it is one?

To be clear: The church will charge money for food and use the resulting revenue to offset its operating expenses.


1 Answer 1



Commercial use is interpreted broadly - anything that is or may lead to (e.g. advertising, pro-bono work etc.) income generation is commercial use. See http://www.thehelpful.com/creativecommons/what-is-commercial-use.html for EU information.

This follows from the relevant definition of commerce as "the activity embracing all forms of the purchase and sale of goods and services"

Your proposed use is definitely 100% commercial use.

You should:

  1. Approach the publisher and ask permission,
  2. Use images you own or have a clear licence for,
  3. Use public domain images.
  • 2
    Do you have any references to support the assertion that "anything that may lead to income generation is commercial use"?
    – phoog
    Jul 28, 2015 at 1:26
  • At the link you cited it says, "If you use content for general research, even if not for any specific purpose, and you or your organisation generates income, that counts as commercial use. So does using content for pro-bono work ... if it also enhances your reputation or leads to income-generating work in any way whatsoever. Jul 28, 2015 at 12:37

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