According to The New York Times, Getty Images will scour Flickr for images it might be able to sell.
Getty editors will comb Flickr in search of interesting images. They will then invite photographers to participate in the program and ensure that their images have the proper releases to be licensed legally. Those who are included in the program will get paid at the same rates that Getty pays photographers who are under contract with the company.
Jonathan Klein, co-founder and chief executive of Getty Images, said, “Because the imagery is not shot for commercial services, there is more authenticity. Advertisers are looking for authenticity.”
[UPDATE] Photo Shelter, a competitor and thorn in Getty Image’s side, is flattered that Getty is validating their approach. “No other competitor in their history has forced Getty to change their model. This is a great sign of encouragement for us.”
For much more on Photo Shelter’s side of the story, see their blog.