Welcome images – the photolibrary arm of the Welcome Trust has decided to make its image collection freely available to all under the Creative Commons image license.
High res images are available for download under either a free use for any purpose or free use for non-commercial purposes only. You can read more about this on their website here: https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/page/News.html
Previously only a part of the collection was available for free use. Image contributors who did not support the initiative were free to withdraw their images before the change in May 2017.
Obviously Im not a big fan of current trends in the photolibrary industry that passes on less and less money to originators and photographers but I like to think that in the case of the Welcome Trust that this injection and “weight” of images into the public domain is a good thing. It will help them with their goal of promoting Science, medicine and well being for human good. They are joining the likes of NASA who also make images freely available.
It is a specialist library and this may impact commercial libraries that serve the same sectors, my guess is that clients will still want to use high quality images that are provided in a full rights controlled fashion and so will continue to use the established libraries, the lower end clients will be nibbled away however.
As always, we are “in nature”, adapt and survive, find a niche. Creative and technical quality need to be a given.