Getty Images sues Microsoft for 'massive' infringement over image search tool

Getty Images sues Microsoft for 'massive' infringement over image search tool

Summary: Bing's 'Image Widget' lands the software, services, and devices giant in hot water. The damages to Getty are "incalculable," the lawsuit says.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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GETTY
(Image: ZDNet/Getty)

Online stock photo and imagery service Getty Images has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, alleging "massive" infringement of copyrighted images.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York on Thursday, Getty claims Microsoft's Bing Image Widget opens the door to "massive infringement" of copyrighted images.

The Bing Image Widget, released in late August, gives publishers the ability to embed images from Bing Search on their own websites.

But Getty alleges the tool grants access to billions of images found online, regardless of whether or not the images are copyrighted.

Getty claims the tool has turned the world's images into a "vast, unlicensed 'clip art' collection," it said in the filing.

The stock and photography image firm wants the image tool blocked, claiming its injuries from Microsoft would be "incalculable." Microsoft told Reuters that it will "take a close look at Getty's concerns."

(via Reuters)

Topic: Microsoft

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37 comments
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  • Well this is kinda weird

    Getty's major rival is something called Corbis... owned by one Bill Gates? Coincidence probably. :)
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • how about Google,

      is it bigger offender?
      SmilingGuy
    • Maybe

      Microsoft should hire the NRA's lawyers.

      Guns don't kill people, people kill people... In this case, the tool can be used legitimately and it can be misused, much like any other tool.

      Ban all cars, you can use them as bombs or you can run people over and kill them!
      wright_is
  • Getty Images sues Microsoft for 'massive' infringement over image search to

    " claiming its injuries from Microsoft would be "incalculable."

    Ok so if its incalculable then there is no value in them and Microsoft should not do anything. If Getty was that concerned about images they shouldn't have put them on the internet. There is nothing wrong with what Microsoft is doing here.
    Loverock.Davidson
    • I see

      Hmm I did not know you were a pirate. You always sounded like a tool.
      Altotus
    • go back under your bridge.

      you probably have no idea what Getty is. Microsoft isn't just robbing getty, it's robbing a tons of photographers. It's the same BS as Microsoft removing adds from the youtube app (google and content providers were losing money).
      Jean-Pierre-
      • How is Bing Image search any different than Google's?

        First most copyrighted stock photography has watermarks on them and shame on them if they aren't. Shutterstock and their competitors ALL watermark their photos and the ability to use Bing to find them to purchase and use is a feature Getty should be happy about. I call BS or some back-office politics going on here.
        smfrazz
        • What?

          Did you even read the article? This line in particular: "The Bing Image Widget, released in late August, gives publishers the ability to embed images from Bing Search on their own websites."

          You cannot just put a copyrighted image on your own website without either paying for it or contacting the copyright owner and getting permission. The Bing Image Widget bypasses this. I have "fixed" many websites where the original authors used copyrighted materials without permission and the businesses were not aware.
          benched42
          • Watermarks

            If the images are watermarked like smfrazz says, then, no matter where you put them, anyone viewing them can tell where they're from, which is the same thing as attributing to the source. It will be much cheaper publicity for them in my opinion, having images with their watermarks popping up all over the internet.
            oscardetoy@...
          • The point is

            that copyrighted images WITHOUT watermarks (because someone paid to use the image) are being displayed in search results and people are using THOSE images.
            Rick_R
        • read the F#$King article

          stop your damn fanboism and READ THE DAMN ARTICLE.

          Then we can't debate.
          Jean-Pierre-
    • Great joke, LD!

      We need your jokes in here to balance out the serious posts. Keep 'em coming!
      Smalahove
    • Getty has 0% chance to win

      According to USA law, the images copy rights belong to the people that physically take the photos, not the people in the photo, nor the organizations (like Getty) hold the photos. It is nearly impossible to prove two things: (1) who physically press the button of the camera, (2) if the people who transfer the copyrights to Getty are the real copyright owners. also, Getty need to persuate all the photo owners to transfer the copyrights to it before the sues are valid.

      I looked at getty's images before, and found that many people provided images to getty without the proof they are the owners and some images belong to many owners. lol
      SmilingGuy
      • I believe Getty owns most, if not all of the image...

        If not direct ownership, they own distribution rights.
        jessepollard
      • Too bad you don't know "doo-doo" about copyright law.

        "According to USA law, the images copy rights belong to the people that physically take the photos, not the people in the photo, nor the organizations (like Getty) hold the photos."

        If someone is HIRED to take photos, the photos are a "work for hire" and the person/company that HIRED the photographer owns the copyright unless they contract otherwise.

        Also, anyone who DOES own a copyright can SELL the right. They can also LICENSE *use* of the copyrighted material. They can also hire an AGENT to license use of their copyrighted material -- such as Getty Images.
        Rick_R
    • Ooooo... what you said.

      I believe you said the opposite about Google for EXACTLY the same thing...
      jessepollard
  • huh

    Why would image search that allows you to link to an image infringe on your image rights? If you've published it to the web, anyone can link to that image? I'm not sure what their problem is.
    _JimB_
    • Not that simple.

      No there are copyrights involved.
      Altotus
  • No big deal...

    Microsoft should just pay and license it. There must have been a snafu on Microsoft's part for this too happen. Just pay it and be done with it.
    VictorWho
    • They couldn't afford it.

      Take every windows search, then multiply.....
      jessepollard