Getty Images is making waves today after filing a formal complaint against none other than search and tech giant Google with the EU Antitrust commission. The complaint accuses Google Image Search of promoting piracy, “resulting in widespread copyright infringement [and] turning users into accidental pirates.”
Getty Images, it seems, has seen a big drop in traffic to its site since Google began showing larger, high-resolution image previews in January of 2013. “Because image consumption is immediate, once an image is displayed in high-resolution, large format,” says Getty, “there is little impetus to view the image on the original source site.”
They explain the problem in simple terms through this animated video released some 9 months ago:
Getty apparently tried to settle the matter directly with Google when the search engine began using large previews three years ago, but Google flexed its substantial muscle, telling Getty that they could either accept the new format or remove their images from Google Images entirely. Getty finds this “non-solution” unacceptable.
As a result, Getty is going to bat for the 200,000 “photojournalists, content creators and artists around the world who rely on [Getty Images] to protect their ability to be compensated for their work.”
“Artists need to earn a living in order to sustain creativity and licensing is paramount to this,” says Getty general counsel Yoko Miyashita. “This cannot happen if Google is siphoning traffic and creating an environment where it can claim the profits from individuals’ creations as its own.”