Today’s complaint is a follow up from a June 2015 filing, when Getty Images joined as an “interested third party” supporting the European Commission’s ongoing investigation into anti-competitive business practices by Google. The new complaint is also in support of a previous complaint filed by the European Commission by Coordination of European Picture Agencies Stock, Press and Heritage (CEPIC), an organization that represents photo agencies in Europe.
In a statement Getty Images said that the company’s complaint focuses “specifically on changes made in 2013 to Google images…which has not only impacted Getty Images’ image licensing business, but content creators around the world, by creating captivating galleries of high-resolution images.”
The statement claimed, “These changes have allowed Google to reinforce its role as the internet’s dominant search engine…This has also promoted piracy, resulting in widespread copyright infringement, turning users into accidental pirates.”
Previous to 2013, Google only showcased low-res thumbnails in their image search engine. To see the high resolution images, users had to click through to the image’s host site.
Getty Images’ General Counsel, Yoko Miyashita said in a statement that the goal of the complaint was to create a fair marketplace for photographers.
“It is key that these issues with Google are addressed and that the dominant search engine in Europe leads users to legitimate sources for imagery, rather than creating an environment that benefits Google alone. A fair marketplace will allow photographers to continue to capture the ground-breaking imagery that informs and impacts the world every day.”
The investigation has already been in the works for the last year, a verdict of any kind shouldn’t be expected for at least another six months to a year, if not longer.
Getty’s original statement can be found here.