Getty ramps up pressure on Google with image search complaint

Getty Images

Getty Images on Wednesday filed a complaint against Google at the European Commission, accusing the search giant of promoting piracy to solidify its market dominance.

The photo service specifically called out Google’s 2013 change to its image search, which allowed users to see high-resolution photos rather than “low res thumbnails” that might encourage users to click through to see a better-quality image. 

{mosads}“By creating its own captive, image-rich environment and cutting off user traffic to competing websites — and reserving that traffic exclusively for its own benefit — Google is able to maintain and reinforce its dominance in search,” Getty’s general counsel, Yoko Miyashita, said

Getty said the 2013 change immediately started diverting traffic away from its own site, which the company said is hurting the livelihood of the 200,000 photographers who use Getty to distribute images. 

While the complaint was filed with European regulators, Getty said “antitrust authorities around the world should take action.”

Google is facing mounting antitrust pressure from European regulators in the six-year probe of the search giant. Last year, regulators there accused the search giant of abusing its dominant position to favor its comparison shopping service. And just last week, regulators accused Google of abusing its position on the Android smartphone operating system. 

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission is questioning other companies about Google’s Android conduct, according to The Wall Street Journal

Getty has been active in the Google investigation in Europe for about a year. It was named as an interested party last year, making many of the same complaints as today. 

Getty’s complaint mirrors those of some news publishers that have complained that Google makes available portions of their stories in its search field. Google has said that feature benefits publishers by encouraging users to click through to other sites. 

Getty, however, argues images are different. 

“Once an image is displayed in high-resolution, large format, it is immediately consumed — there’s very little reason to go see it somewhere else,” the company said. 

Tags European Commission Google

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