Publishing site Lulu partners with Getty Images

Despite its open-source reputation, self-publisher strikes deal with Getty to make copyrighted images available to Lulu members.
Written by Caroline McCarthy, Contributor
Lulu.com, a site that lets members publish, print and sell their own books, has entered into a multiyear agreement with stock-photo giant Getty Images.

In this deal, Getty will provide its royalty-free--but still copyright-protected--image database to Lulu so that its members can use the contents in their self-published books, photo books and calendars. Lulu has emphasized the copyright-friendly nature of the agreement, explaining in a release that the high-resolution version of a Getty image is not "married" to a Lulu book until right before production. This way, according to Lulu, digital rights management restrictions on the stock images are honored.

Partnering with a company that specializes in copyrighted images is somewhat unusual for a company like Lulu, whose roots are definitively open source. The self-publishing site was founded by Robert Young, who co-founded Red Hat Linux along with Marc Ewing in 1994.

In addition to offering self-publishing on demand to members, Lulu has also sold titles from the Internet Archive's Open Library, considered by some to be an open-source equivalent to Google's controversial Library Project.

Lulu touts 200,000 recently published titles with more than 5,000 additions each week. In addition to selling self-published books, the site also offers e-books, CDs, DVDs, and music and software downloads, with editorial and copyright control in the hands of the individual publisher. There's no fee to publish on Lulu, but the site does take a commission from each sale.

The Getty database will be available to Lulu members beginning this summer.

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