Every day, a huge number of auctions are posted on advertising portals that offer items related to the coronavirus pandemic. Getty Images, on the other hand, decided to put a public domain photo of the virus in its collection and demanded up to 499 dollars for a copy. While selling masks, gloves or disinfectants (at a reasonable price) is nothing bad, trading in illustrations that are supposed to make people aware of the threat and are public property anyway seems unethical to say the least. Especially since the picture posted by Getty contains the logo of the institution that created it and then made it available for free.
Employees of CDC, an American institution whose main goal is to protect health and prevent diseases, were asked to create a coronavirus illustration that would attract public attention. The project took about a week to complete, after which the image made its round around the globe at an express pace. Despite the fact that the picture is publicly available on a government website, Getty Images is trying to sell it on its website without any reservations. For the sake of clarity, Getty doesn't break the law, because something that is in the public domain can be used in any way. This doesn't change the fact that the website is taking a lot of flak from Reddit. Several previous slip-ups were also reminded, including the resale of a collection of photographs that were given to the Library of Congress by the famous photographer Carol Highsmith, and demanding a fee for the publication of awkwarde penguin memes.