Alex Goh and the team at Imgembed are onto something. They launched this year at SXSW and already have one million images loaded into their platform for sharing, using, and, most importantly, monetizing photos online.

It goes something like this: if you are a professional or amateur photographer, you can upload your photos via Instagram, Flickr, or any other social photo sharing platform. If you’re a journalist, you can search images for free for your blog posts. You copy the embed link, and the photographer’s name comes embedded with the photo.

If the footer bar with the creator’s name doesn’t work for your layout, you go premium. Each photo comes with a price, set by the creator, for each impression. The image is always free for up to 10,000 impressions, and after that, you pay the price. And if you’re article with a picture gets more than 10,000 you should know how to monetize that anyway.

Every time a photo is embedded, the platform generates a unique jpeg with the creator’s name attached, so the photos are easier to track. You can ‘steal’ an Imgembed photo, but it has the artist’s name on it. Win – win.

It gets to the heart of digital copyright and Creative Commons licensing. Goh believes that people want to use creative works ethically, but aren’t very good at it. He says:

There’s a big misunderstanding about Creative Commons licensing. CC licenses mean that you can use the image, but you have to attribute the work to the creator. People often don’t do that or they forget to link back…So they’re stealing because it’s free and it’s easy. We’ve made it so easy, that there’s no excuse to do it the wrong way.

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