Last year, I watched Craig Peters, a SVP at Getty Images, nearly get booed off of the stage during his talk at Luminance 2012. He said that Getty was focused on creating the best return for their stock holders, and most photographers I spoke to after the talk were really upset at some of the numbers Peters claimed during the talk, which they believed to be fabrications. On December 6, Google Drive announced that "5,000 new photos of nature, weather, animals, sports, food, education, technology, music and 8 other categories are now available for your use in Docs, Sheets, and Slides." A couple weeks ago, an iStockphoto forum post started an avalanche of negative articles after an iStockphoto contributor said that he received $12 for the Google Drive platform licensing deal mentioned in the announcement.
Photographers are hoping that Getty, who owns iStockphoto, and Google release full details about what is actually going on, but photographers are already starting to remove pictures from iStockphoto, in protest. Personally, I'm glad that I never licensed my pictures through Getty. Don't get me wrong—I give away plenty of pictures to NGOs that I support; licensing your pictures for free is something only you can decide you want to do.
My Flickr pictures that Getty editors are interested in licensing
If you don't want to support Getty and are a Flickr user, you can opt out from the entire process by logging in to Flickr, going to your account's "Privacy & Permissions" page, and changing the settings for "Make your photos eligible for invitation by Getty Images?" to "No thanks...".
Select "No thanks" at the "Eligibility for Getty Images invitations" page to opt out