Google strikes deal with Getty, will remove direct image links from search
Getty Images has announced a licensing deal with Google that resolves a 2016 lawsuit filed by the photo agency against the Internet giant. The lawsuit accused Google of "promoting piracy" by linking to high-resolution copyrighted images without watermarks, enabling anyone to save and use the images without paying the related fee.
At the heart of the issue was Google Image Search, and how it directly links to high-resolution images found in articles and other online destinations. Because the high-resolution images could be readily found on Google Images, users had little motivation to hunt down the proper image source. This resulted in many "accidental pirates" infringing image copyrights, the lawsuit claims.
To settle the matter, Getty and Google have jointly announced a new multi-year agreement last week, with Getty's CEO Dawn Airey explaining that Getty "will license our market leading content to Google, working closely with them to improve attribution of our contributors' work and thereby growing the ecosystem." That, unfortunately, is as far as official details go.
Fortunately, The Verge elaborated on the agreement, reporting that Google will start removing direct links to image URLs and more prominently displaying copyright disclaimer—good news for all photographers and photo agencies, assuming this practice will go beyond images licensed by Getty.
Getty Images has formally withdrawn its legal complaint against Google.