The US-based photo agency Getty Images has filed a competition lawsuit with the European Commission against Google.
Getty Images accusation focuses on changes made in 2013 to Google Images. Instead of thumbnails, the search engine now displays high-resolution images that have been “scraped” from third party websites.
A statement released by Getty Images states: “Because image consumption is immediate, once an image is displayed in high-resolution, large format, there is little impetus to view the image on the original source site. These changes have allowed Google to reinforce its role as the internet’s dominant search engine, maintaining monopoly over site traffic, engagement data and advertising spend. This has also promoted piracy, resulting in widespread copyright infringement, turning users into accidental pirates.”
The complaint follows the image agency’s submission in June 2015, when it acted as an interested third party in support of the European Commission’s investigation into Google’s anti-competitive business practice.
“Google’s behavior is adversely affecting not only our contributors, but the lives and livelihoods of artists around the world,” says Getty Images’ General Counsel, Yoko Miyashita.
It adds to the mounting charges against Google from the EU, the most recent of which concerned the dominant position of its Android operating system.
Google has so far declined to comment on this latest lawsuit.