Aleksander MarkinGoogle has yet another enemy in Europe, after Getty Images formally complained to Brussels’ antitrust officials about the multinational’s alleged anti-competitive behaviour.
Getty has flagged up concerns about Google’s use of “scraped third party imagery” on its search engine.
A spokesperson at competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s office told Ars: “The commission has received a complaint, which it will assess.”
Getty first added its voice to the European Commission’s lengthy investigation into Google’s alleged abuse of dominance in search in the 28-member-state bloc last year, when it submitted support for the probe as an interested third party.
On Wednesday, the company—which represents over 2,000 photojournalists—sharpened its focus on Google by issuing a formal complaint against the search and ad titan.
Getty Images’ complaint focuses specifically on changes made in 2013 to Google Images, the image search functionality of Google, which has not only impacted Getty Images’ image licensing business, but content creators around the world, by creating captivating galleries of high-resolution, copyrighted content.
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.
Getty’s complaint comes a week after Vestager issued a second charge sheet against Google—this time the company’s Android operating system is in the spotlight.
Last year, Google was hit with a first Statement of Objections against its alleged tactic to systematically favour its own comparison shopping product in its general search results pages.
“By standing in the way of a fair marketplace for images, Google is threatening innovation, and jeopardising artists’ ability to fund the creation of important future works,” claimed Getty Images’ general counsel, Yoko Miyashita.
“Artists need to earn a living in order to sustain creativity and licensing is paramount to this; however, this cannot happen if Google is siphoning traffic and creating an environment where it can claim the profits from individuals’ creations as its own.”
Ars sought comment from Google on this story, however, it hadn’t got back to us at time of publication.
This post originated on Ars Technica UK