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Getty Images files competition law complaint against Google

Getty Images has built a solid reputation in the industry as one of the most trusted providers of stock imagery, news photography and photojournalism photographs and throughout the world.  The company, who provide every genre of visual imagery through it’s own businesses including I-Stock, have an astonishing archive of over 200 million items in the marketplace. Getty Images sells it’s products to individuals, small businesses, news outlets and business websites in over 200 countries and has carved out an immense name in the media industry as the “Go To” company for Video and still image content. content from the world’s best photographers and videographers.

Getty Images files competition law complaint against Google

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The Complaint

Getty contributors woke today to an email from Paul Banwell, Senior Director of Contributor Relations at Getty Images, in which he stated;

Our complaint focuses specifically on Google Images, which has impacted the competitiveness of our business by siphoning off traffic and promoting piracy – to the detriment of the 200,000 contributors who rely on us to earn a living. On a broader scale, this has impacted the interests of content creators around the world, allowing Google not only to profit from their work, but also to reinforce its role as the internet’s dominant search engine and thus maintain its monopoly power.”

Getty Images says it will file a competition lawsuit with the EU against Google, after changes to Google’s picture search promote piracy and give the search engine giant unfair advantages in the way it manages traffic and advertising protocol. This isn’t the first time that Google has been in hot water and with complaints over allegedly breaching EU Competition laws. Google has been issued formal antitrust charges over allegations that it has taken advantage of it’s influential position in the market specifically with  its Android operating system. The European Commission sent a statement of objections to the tech firm, alleging that it has breached EU competition law. Google is accused of placing onerous requirements on firms using Android and stifling competition. The company has in the past dismissed allegations it has used its dominant position to stifle competition.

Getty Images files competition law complaint against Google

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Accidental piracy

Heading back  to the recent complaint, Getty Images claims Google is displaying pictures in its search results that takes away traffic that would otherwise go to Getty’s own website. The iconic agency indicates that because image consumption is pretty much instantaneous, that once an image is shown in a large format by Google, that the need for customers to continue to the website (the originating source site) is reduced as they are essentially  giving the picture out that they are viewing.

“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,” Getty said in a press release.”This has also promoted piracy, resulting in widespread copyright infringement, turning users into accidental pirates.”


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