Google will be updating its image search results to make copyright disclaimers more prominent. In addition, Google will be removing direct links to the URLs of copyrighted images.
These changes were announced as part of a newly-formed partnership between Google and Getty Images. The deal includes a multi-year global licensing partnership, which will allow Google to use Getty Images’ content within its products and services.
Dawn Airey, CEO of Getty Images, explains the company’s plans going forward (emphasis mine):
”We will licence our market leading content to Google, working closely with them to improve attribution of our contributors’ work and thereby growing the ecosystem.”
Google says it will start integrating Getty Images’ content into its products and services immediately.
The announcement of this partnership comes a little less than two years after Getty Images filed a complaint accusing Google of promoting piracy and copyright infringement.
In the European Commission complaint, Getty had accused Google of effectively being a one-stop piracy shop: you could easily download and view copyrighted photos without visiting the host site or understanding the legality of a download. Google has long had an option to filter photos by licensing rights, but that only helps if you already intend to honor image permissions. The changes likely won’t stop those determined to grab every image they want, but they may prevent ‘casual’ downloads from people who may only have a loose understanding of copyright.
Getty Images has since formally withdrawn the complaint and the two companies are clearly on better terms with each other. Now it appears they have come to an agreement that will benefit both parties. Google will be able to index the vast library of Getty Images’ content, while the content creators will be credited appropriately.