U.S. photography agency Getty Images is lodging a formal complaint against Google, stating that the search vendor is undermining its licensing business by providing access to copyrighted images in Google Images. The company is set to file a complaint with the European Union's antitrust commission, where Google is already under fire for abusing its dominant position with Android in the region.
Getty Images says that by making "full-screen slideshows of high-resolution copyrighted images" available for download directly within the image search results, Google is hurting its business as users see little intensive to pay for images that are freely available. From TIME:
In a statement released to TIME ahead of the filing, Getty argues that since image consumption is immediate, "there is little impetus to view the image on the original source site" once it's seen in high resolution on Google. By making these images available to download, Google has "also promoted piracy, resulting in widespread copyright infringement, turning users into accidental pirates," Getty claims.
Getty Images' general counsel Yoko Miyashita said that Google is "siphoning traffic and profits from photographers" with its practices:
Getty Images represents over 200,000 photojournalists, content creators and artists around the world who rely on us to protect their ability to be compensated for their work. Google's behavior is adversely affecting not only our contributors, but the lives and livelihoods of artists around the word, present and future.
We want [Google] to go back to search functioning as search, and not search functioning as a substitute of publishers.
Miyashita also mentioned that the company deliberated with Google for three years over this issue without making any headway:
Google's proposed solution [was to] accept its presentation of images, or opt-out of image search.