Brussels
03 May 2016
Reporter: Tammy Facey

Getty Images takes aim at Google


Getty Images has filed a competition law complaint against Google with the European Commission over the internet company’s Images search engine.

The complaint follows Getty’s support of the European Commission’s investigation into allegations that Google is distorting search results in favour of its own services. The new complaint accuses the internet company of contributing to widespread piracy.

Getty’s complaint, which was filed with the European Commission on 27 April, focuses on changes made to the image search functionality of Google Images in 2013.

In a statement, Getty argued that the changes not only affected its “image licensing business, but content creators around the world, by creating captivating galleries of high-resolution, copyrighted content”.

“Because image consumption is immediate, once an image is displayed in high-resolution, large format, there is little impetus to view the image on the original source site. These changes have allowed Google to reinforce its role as the internet’s dominant search engine, maintaining monopoly over site traffic, engagement data and advertising spend.”

“This has also promoted piracy, resulting in widespread copyright infringement, turning users into accidental pirates.”

Yoko Miyashita, counsel at Getty, commented: “Google’s behaviour is adversely affecting not only our contributors, but the lives and livelihoods of artists around the word—present and future. By standing in the way of a fair marketplace for images, Google is threatening innovation, and jeopardising artists’ ability to fund the creation of important future works.”

The European Commission launched another competition investigation earlier in April to address allegations that Google is abusing its position as the operator of Android.

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