back to article OH SNAP: Getty Images sues Microsoft over Bing pics widget

Getty Images has flung a sueball at Microsoft, alleging that the new Bing Image Widget breaches its copyright. Microsoft says the widget “enhances your web site with the power of Bing Image Search and provides your users with beautiful, configurable image collages and slideshows.” The widget is easy to use: at this page you …

Anonymous Coward

Makes a change from Getty images targeting little people with threats of court action for using images they 'claim' they hold the copyright to.

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Boffin

@AC Huh?

Ok...

Here's the thing.

Getty is a stock photo house. The article and the article referenced talk about Getty using the images from their stock. (If you have a problem of Getty stealing your photos. By all means sue them.)

I did a simple test.

I tried getting images from a local hadoop user group on getty.

Guess what? Using the search term 'Hadoop' I got back 15 images from a stock photo that was used in a Bloomberg article.

I then did this with Microsoft's Bing tool.

Got back member photos and group icons.

Now, if I had to say... The reuse of the indexed photos and images by Microsoft would clearly be copyright infringement.

If you have to pick a fight... its Microsoft which is clearly violating the copyright holders rights and they should be sued.

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No slideshow?

Is it just me, or is the promised Vulture slideshow missing in action for everybody?

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Re: No slideshow?

> Is it just me, or is the promised Vulture slideshow missing in action for everybody?

YMMV I think, but it's not visible in Wheezy's iceweasel at least. At time of writing, View Source shows a div tag [with class="bingwidget"] in which the terminating slash appears not to be separated by whitespace from the close quote of the preceeding attribute.

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Re: No slideshow?

Looks like the script call is missing - perhaps stripped out by the El Reg CMS?

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Re: No slideshow?

no slideshow here, either.

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Re: No slideshow?

it's up now. Just in the wrong place.

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Anonymous Coward

They're not the worst offenders

There are a couple of very big services that you could easily hit with a class action suit when it comes to copyright, and you'd be setting up a civil layer on top of what is a criminal breach of law.

This could actually be rather entertaining Does anyone know a good US lawyer?

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Re: They're not the worst offenders

Besides Harvey Birdman?

Actually its a slam dunk class action lawsuit.

Of course you have to own the website in question, or make sure that the T's and C's don't force you to accept that the photos on the site are automatically licensed under terms in Creative Commons...

If its your photo, your site and you've got the copyright... GO FOR IT!

EASY MONEY!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They're not the worst offenders

" ...a good US lawyer"

...a contradiction in terms?

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Re: They're not the worst offenders

" Does anyone know a good US lawyer?"

No, all the ones I have met so far have been evil...

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Coat

Re: They're not the worst offenders

So I guess this is alright then?!

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proof Bing using Getty images?

Can Getty show that Bing's widget is pulling in any of its images for these slideshows?

And, no, no vulture slideshow for me either.

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Stop

Well Getty...

Try Watermarks? Pictures tend not to look to good with a ruddy great copyright all over them, you never now, if people really like the original, they may buy it.

Or Robots.txt? Heard of it?

Maybe Bing should just admit it's a bad thing and kill all links to Getty for image searches.

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Paris Hilton

Bizarre

Isn't Microsoft one of the biggest hoarder of the oh-so-monetarizable megastock of imagery itself?

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Re: Bizarre

I'm sure I read about Microsoft conning art galleries into selling the rights to use images of the paintings at scandalously low prices, but I can't find a link quickly.

So just having the copyright is not sufficient to convince me that they are behaving honourably.

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Re: Bizarre

You might be thinking of Corbis, which Gates owns.

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Anonymous Coward

"will consider the suit seriously"

That seems like a bizarre response from Microsoft, though perhaps it's normal for the USA. In the UK people don't go to court until they have spent a lot of time negotiating privately (otherwise the court is likely to dismiss the case) so you'd expect the recipient of a court action to have already considered the matter seriously and to have something more substantial to tell journalists about their point of view, never mind them perhaps having considered the legal aspects before launching the service. Strange.

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Re: "will consider the suit seriously"

One has the impression that, in the US, one shoots first and asks questions later.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "will consider the suit seriously"

Yes, The New Turtle, we do.

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Hard to prove guilty

1. In Collage mode, it's clickable and takes to bing search where the user can click on the image for the original (hopefully right-holder) source.

2. In Slide-show mode, the source title and clickable link comes up on hover.

In both scenarios the behavior is the same that you get from an ordinary image search result from Bing / Google. If Getty is really concerned that the name of the copyright-owners should displayed in a static way, why don't they object to Bing home page from years which picks images from Getty only and (!) icon on images just mention "Getty" as the copyright owner.

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Anonymous Coward

"has turned the entirety of the world's online images into little more than a vast, unlicensed 'clip art'"

Isn't that google's job?

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Anonymous Coward

No, it's what Microsoft have been doing.

Read the article.

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Happy

Whooooosshhh...

There is the sound of it going right over your head.

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Huh I thought Bill Gates just happened to own Getty?

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Trollface

Yes, this is what I was thinking.

But actually it belongs to the Carlyle Group and assorted Boardroom Cats:

Getty Images acquired in huge $3.3B buyout

Must have been some other company, but I can't find it back.

Edit: thanks to @sjmoto. It's Corbis, and also Corbis.

Also:

It's a jungle out there.

Maybe Andrew can write something up covering a nugget of truth with a litany about rampant spoliation of photographers (who for some reason never need to fork percentages to camera makers, how come?)

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(Written by Reg staff)

@DestroyAllPhotographers

Getty made 35m images free to embed back in May to bloggers, etc.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/06/getty_image_embed_opens_up_35m_for_bloggers/

One-click licensing should be here in the UK by the end of the year.

http://www.copyrighthub.co.uk

Then there's "free shit" people can legally license.

Microsoft has little excuse for not keeping up with the news.

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Anonymous Coward

I must admit to being a bit puzzled by the claim by Getty images.

What is the widget doing that Google or Bing image search doesn't do?

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For the aficionado of "video material", bing is amazing.

Click "video, type in search term. Enjoy.

Going to settings and turning of Filter" helps to.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Going to settings and turning of Filter" helps to.

Hence Paris.

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I think there is a fine but critical distinction to be made, tied to use and the legal responsibilities therefor.

If I, as an artist, post images to the web, I make conscious decisions regarding quality, use of watermarks, etc. based on a business risk benefit assessment that I make The person who accesses and downloads my images is still personally legally for complying with copyright law regarding what in the US is called the fair use of those images--in general limited to a restricted set of personal uses.

Fair use does NOT extend to further publication, dissemination, and commercial use. That is where the advertised capability crosses a bright legal line. What they are providing is deliberately designed for dissemination and distribution of copyrighted images.

The decision to do this is either abysmally dumb, or a diabolically clever strategy to make legal liability so difficult to assign as to render copyright law unenforceable by the average artist.

Again Grandpa Hargove's wisdom applies. In the limit it does not matter whether you are the victim of a charlatan or a fool. The damage is the same.

Companies with deep pockets like Google and Microsoft, who can afford to litigate will be able to create a situation where they can appropriate and exploit any image for commercial use with impunity. Increasingly, that appears to be their conscious goal.

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The Elephant in the room

Are the Getty images slavish reproductions of a 2-D original? If they are, Microsoft could probably win the case (courtesy Feist, and also Bridgman v Corel). But I gather that Microsoft would prefer to lose rather than be tainted as a copyright disrespector.

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