Date
16 December 2017
Microsoft's Bing Image Widget allows web publishers to gain access to billions of images that can be found online, without regard to whether the photos are copyrighted, according to Getty Images' lawsuit. Photo: Bloomberg
Microsoft's Bing Image Widget allows web publishers to gain access to billions of images that can be found online, without regard to whether the photos are copyrighted, according to Getty Images' lawsuit. Photo: Bloomberg

Getty Images sues Microsoft over online photo tool

A new Microsoft Corp. product that allows website publishers to use digital photographs on their sites is a “massive infringement” of copyrighted images, Getty Images Inc. claimed in a lawsuit filed in a federal court in New York on Thursday.

The lawsuit claims the Bing Image Widget, released on Aug. 22, gives publishers the ability to create a panel on their websites that displays digital images supplied by Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Reuters reported.

Rather that draw from a pool of licensed images, publishers can use the product to gain access to the billions of images that can be found online, without regard to whether the photos are copyrighted, according to the lawsuit.

“In effect, defendant has turned the entirety of the world’s online images into little more than a vast, unlicensed ‘clip art’ collection for the benefit of those website publishers who implement the Bing Image Widget, all without seeking permission from the owners of copyrights in those images,” the lawsuit said.

Getty, which produces and distributes photos, video, music and multimedia products, is asking the judge to immediately block the widget and award an unspecified amount of damages, the report said. The actual injury to Getty is “incalculable”, according to the lawsuit.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said the company would consider whether Getty’s claims had merit.

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