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Getty is using watermarks to create safe drinking water

Watermarks for Water - Getty Images

Watermarks help protect images from misuse but Getty is aiming to use the watermark for something bigger. On World Water Day, on Thursday, March 22, Getty launched Watermarks for Water, an image licensing platform that donates 10 percent of all proceeds to help communities in third-world countries obtain clean drinking water.

With the initiative, Getty said it is removing the watermark on the images while removing impurities from the water. The portion of the proceeds will go toward Charity: Water, a non-profit focused on providing safe drinking water.

The collection includes more than 300 images, some stock and some depicting the importance of having access to clean water. The campaign images feature an adjusted Getty images watermark designed for the initiative. Once the photo is licensed, that watermark is removed and ten percent of the proceeds head to Charity: Water.

The website also allows users to support the cause by sharing images on social media. When shared, the image includes both the watermark and a fact on clean drinking water to help raise awareness for the cause. Social media users are also invited to use the hashtag #watermarksforwater.

“At Getty Images, we believe in moving the world with images. Water is one of the most essential elements in our lives, so on World Water Day this year, we’re kicking off a movement to help bring awareness and raise funds for the global water crisis,” Getty Images Chief Operating Officer Craig Peters said in a statement.

Along with selling the images inside the collection, a gallery showing of 25 of those images launched in New York City. The proceeds from the sale of those gallery prints will also be donated to the cause.

The Watermarks for Water collection is made up of both images from Getty’s existing creative collections, as well as donated images from several photographers, including Brent Stirton and Tom Stoddart.

Getty worked with the ad agency FCB and parent company Interpublic Group to create the campaign. Watermarks for Water works toward one of the goals of the United Nations Global Goals campaign. Getty was one of the founding partners for that initiative when the campaign launched in 2015.

“One of the things that struck us the most when working with Getty Images on this campaign is that more people die from drinking impure water than from war,” Liz Taylor, chief creative officer of FCB Chicago, said in a statement.  “That insight led us to take one of Getty Images’ most recognizable assets, the watermark, and flip the idea on its head — what if, by removing watermarks, we could start a global movement to bring clean water to those around the world who lack it.”

The Watermarks for Water images are available for sharing and licensing at

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