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back to article Snappers attack Google Image problem, demand action from EC officials

Google is facing yet more gripes about its business practices in Europe, after a lobby group representing photographers and picture agencies lodged a formal complaint with competition officials in Brussels. A spokesman at antitrust commissioner Joaquin Almunia's office confirmed to The Register that it had received the complaint …

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Facepalm

Who is behind this lobby group?

Who is behind this lobby group, would their name begin with the 'M' letter ..

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Anonymous Coward

So...

We just have a massive case in the US closed (effectively) regarding google books which has been around for a few years doing what it does, that only google does. And it found in googles favour.

So in the EU, we now have a case about image searches using images without copyright information citing google as the only infringer despite the fact there are any number of image searches on the web (bing, yahoo etc)

They claim there is no citation of the original site, yet when you hover over the image, it shows a link to the website. When you click on the image, it displays in big letters the url it came from, as well as a big VISITPAGE button that takes you right to the page it's from, and a big VIEW IMAGE button which, in spite of their complaint doesn't show the full sized image on googles servers, but on their own site, something that can easily be blocked with a few lines of code.

Sounds to me like bandwagon jumping.

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Re: So... Sounds to me like bandwagon jumping

No, you don't understand the issue because it wasn't explained very well in the article. Photographers are seeing *massive* falloff in site visits. There's no need to visit a photographer's website when Google serves the image up for free.

The caveat on Google images "Images may be subject to copyright" is laughable as 99% of images *are* subject to copyright and Google well knows this.

Google ought to state:

"MOST if not all images *are* subject to copyright and you should contact the image owner to obtain permission if you wish to use the image. Failing to do so *will* leave you open to legal action"

But Google prefers to aid and abet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So... Sounds to me like bandwagon jumping

If that's the case I can understand it. Although once again I state a fair few sites run by photographers that I've visited have an automatic redirect when you try to view the image itself for the full sized version. So you go view the image, followed by being taken to the root of the site, or page the image is from rather than the image itself. I do however agree that, in the case of actual photographers and artists I can understand the annoyance.

Never bought any art mind you, but did send out plenty of emails while at uni asking for permission to use others artwork in my projects, and a few musical pieces from youtube (had a few people send me the uncompressed FLAC)

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Re: So... Sounds to me like bandwagon jumping

Also, not so much bandwagon jumping as trying to get on and stop the horse and carriage that Google is driving through the laws which previously protected many creative industries on their global mission to "do no evil"

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Re: So...

"espite the fact there are any number of image searches on the web (bing, yahoo etc)"

Yes, but... Bing, Yahoo and the others account for less than 5% of the market in many parts of Europe. Google is the obvious place to start, because they "control" the market.

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Re: *massive* falloff in site visits

Maybe people end up not going to the site as they can see that the image is not what they are looking for?

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Facepalm

Use a robots.txt file ...

"Photographers are seeing *massive* falloff in site visits. There's no need to visit a photographer's website when Google serves the image up for free." El Presidente

Can't see no reason they don't use a robots.txt file ...

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"abusing its dominant position in search"

There might well be something to the idea that Google makes it easy for people to view images without visiting the websites. This is an especially big problem when you can see the images in big resolution directly from Google. This is not like an article excerpt, which induces viewers to read the full article on the web site; in many cases, you don't even need to visit the web site after having seen the image.

On the other hand, I fail to see how Google is particularly abusing of its dominant position in search in this.

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Re: "abusing its dominant position in search"

Google is abusing its position because, if it did not own the internet, content owners would simply ban Googlebot from visiting their sites and therefore prevent Google from using their images.

Since most users are now incapable of getting to or finding a website without going through Google in some way, publishers cannot just ban Google from taking their content.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "abusing its dominant position in search"

> Since most users are now incapable of getting to or finding a website without going through Google in some way, publishers cannot just ban Google from taking their content.

I'm going to disagree with that, to an extent. You can exclude the images themselves from indexing by Google or any other crawlers, without having to make the fact that they exist (or even low-res thumbnails) discoverable. It is a fairly straightforward technical solution and does not require paying any lawyers.

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Anonymous Coward

Man or Machine?

I do not claim to understand the complaint at hand or any underlying issues, so please excuse if this is a stupid comment, but I did not see any mention of robots.txt in the whole discussion.

Is Google Images ignoring it? Or it has not been set up properly by the complainants? I'm curious to know what does "against their specific will" mean, in concrete terms.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Man or Machine?

Google is most definitely obeying robots.txt when it comes to crawling. If the bot is not allowed to download the image, it will not. The web sites could for instance have the thumbnails in one directory, and the full-size images in another one, and only allow Google to crawl the first one.

However, it might well be that when the site owners look at their own images on Google, they realize that only showing the thumbnail makes their images look like shit compared to other sites which show full-sized images. Then it comes down to the fact that the only way they can get any visits is if their images look good on Google, so they don't have much choice.

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Re: Man or Machine?

"Google is most definitely obeying robots.txt when it comes to crawling."

What makes you so sure? I have read that a robots.txt will not stop a Google crawler from crawling a site; it will only effect what Google makes available via the public portals of its search engine.

I have *no* idea if it is true or not.

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