April 15, 2008, Updated September 13, 2012

Bloggers today want to use the best images for their web sites, but copyright is a major snag. Now a new Israeli technology let’s them use top quality pictures free of charge, without breaking any laws.

Bloggers are getting all the attention lately – and gaining credibility in the world of journalism while making money too. But the big question of image rights in the Wild West of the online world has been a challenging one for photographers, until now.

Thanks to a new Israeli product, PicApp, bloggers and website owners can access and choose from millions of high quality images for free. Online publishers can make their sites beautiful, while revenues on images stream back to the content owners.

PicApp is an extension of the products offered by the Israeli company PicScout. The company is most famous for ImageTracker – a tool that lets photographers seek out copyright infringement on their creative material. Some 90 percent of the images used online today violate copyright laws, says PicScout.

With trusted contacts to the world’s biggest image licensing companies such as Getty Images and Corbis, PicScout which is based in San Francisco, with an R&D team in Herzliya, decided to build a service that would make both content owners and bloggers happy.

Bloggers or webmasters simply visit the PicApp.com website. No subscription is required. After a keyword search, the site offers you a number of images and an embed code that’s easily slotted into a blog post or HTML code of a website.

The images, once embedded, will be accompanied by targeted advertising chosen by PicApp. Ad revenues will go back to the content owner and PicScout. This is a non-traditional model of obtaining online revenue, says PicScout, providing an attractive incentive for all parties involved.

Since PicApp updates its image bank daily, one can access the exact same images offered to the best newspapers and magazines around the world.

Eyal Gura, the CEO of PicScout says, “Bloggers are the new journalists and they can now get great images – and use them legally, with no charge whatsoever.

“Through PicApp, we are providing today’s new media with access to the latest images and an easy way to enrich their readers’ experience.”

If for example, you blogged today about the Obama and Clinton race, or the Olympics, you could choose a hot-off-the-press image at PicApp to match the story, free from payment and any copyright issues.

These are the exact same images that celebrity bloggers such as Perez Hilton are using, says Karen Shemesh the marketing communication manager at PicScout, who also runs a blog reporting on company updates.

She tells ISRAEL21c: “We realized that our biggest competition is online bloggers who just take pictures regardless if they are free or not. And because we grew our service through ImageTracker, and work with the largest stock image providers, we are able to give bloggers wonderful pictures that are very high in quality.”

The company is building various licensing models for the future. “But for now it’s about getting your blog posts enhanced with the best pictures,” says Shemesh. “Especially for current events – we will have captures streaming in by the hour and by the minute.”

The fact that bloggers can now access the best pictures in the world for free is virtually unheard of in the online landscape, says Shemesh. “This has never happened before.

“Bloggers today are not just writing for fun, they are looking to make a business,” says Shemesh. It’s important, more than ever, to not cross any lines – especially when it comes to copyrights, she concludes.


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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director