A new claim has been made against Google; this time from Getty Images. Getty is due to file a complaint with the European Commission about Google’s high resolution image search. Whilst this makes Google’s image search results clearer, Getty alleges that it has an effect on consumers – as they don’t need to visit the publisher’s site. As such, revenue and traffic has decreased. In addition to this, the images can be saved or downloaded from the search results themselves; promoting copyright infringement and piracy. When Getty went directly to Google with this problem, it was allegedly told to bear the presentation of the images or remove all its stock from the Google search.
This case has interesting ramifications on the law of copyright. Getty is right to a degree – in that a Google image search will allow the user to search for images and download them, with no thought for the creator (and perhaps the royalty they may owe). Organisations such as the Copyright Hub are trying to rectify this; aiming to make the licensing of content easier. But this complaint goes one step further; alleging that Google’s search platform is encouraging piracy and copyright infringement. Perhaps even suggesting that this needs to change. Whilst we don’t know Google’s take on this claim, it will be interesting to hear their response!