Stock photography company Getty Images is accusing Google of encouraging piracy by scraping images from third party sites and making them available through Google Images.
In its complaint to the European Commission, Getty says that Google Images shows high-resolution slideshows of copyrighted material, giving users little incentive to pay for the image or even view the source of it. The firm claims that this method has hurt its licensing business.
Yoko Miyashita, Getty Images' general counsel said, "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 world, present and future."
The news comes just one week after the European Commission delivered its preliminary findings from its investigation of Google, stating that the firm has "abused its dominant position" in the European mobile market. More recently, the FTC has renewed its investigation into the search giant.
Getty claims that it has been in discussions with Google about this for three years now, after the feature was introduced in January 2013. Of course, those discussions have been ineffective.
Miyashita said, "Google’s proposed solution [was to] accept its presentation of images, or opt-out of image search." She is also inviting all photographers to join in Getty's cause by contacting their local regulators.
This isn't the first time that Getty Images has taken action to prevent piracy. Back in 2014, the firm sued Microsoft over the Bing Images Widget, forcing it to be removed a few days later.