Microsoft has launched a new online product that Getty Images says allows website publishers to embed digital photographs on their sites and is a “massive infringement” of copyrighted images, the photo agency claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York yesterday.
Microsoft’s Bing Image Widget, released on 22 August, gives publishers the ability to create a panel on their websites that displays digital images supplied by Microsoft’s Bing search engine, according to the lawsuit.
Rather than draw from a pool of licensed images, the lawsuit claimed, the product grants access to the billions of images that can be found online, without regard to whether the photos are copyrighted.
“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,” argues Getty.
Microsoft said the company would consider whether Getty’s claims had merit. “As a copyright owner ourselves we think the laws in this area are important, we’ll take a close look at Getty’s concerns.”