In an announcement made late last week, Google parent Alphabet and Getty Images made a sweeping partnership that ended a long-standing copyright antitrust dispute between Getty and Google, which was filed in early 2016.
This deal was characterized by Getty as “a multi-year global licensing partnership, enabling Google to use Getty Images’ content within its various products and services.” As part of that deal, Google will be using Getty images across many of its “products and services.”
According to The Verge, Google is also making copyright attribution and disclaimers more prominent in image search results and is going to remove links to stand-alone URLs for Getty photographs.
The complaint Getty had against Google was the alleged traffic and revenue losses to its customers’ sites because users could see and potentially copy images directly from Google Image Search results. The claim that Getty has is that the ability to save and download images promoted copyright infringement and “piracy.”
Getty isn’t the only party to make these types of claims against Google over the years.
Getty felt that Google was being coerced into participating in Image Search and complying with Google’s image format requirements despite its copyright-related objections. But now, these charges have now reportedly been withdrawn in the wake of the just-announced deal. Getty has been the world’s largest repository and licensor of images, and has bee a very aggressive litigant (a “copyright troll“) in its effort to protect licensing revenues or extract additional revenue from as many infringers as possible, some of whom were unwitting.