Getty Images sues Microsoft over ‘Bing’ photo tool

Getty Images Inc has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft over a new feature of its Bing search engine, Bing Image Widget, calling it a ‘massive infringement’ of copyright images. Getty Images has long fought against the use of its archive of 80 million images, earning a reputation as an aggressive defender of copyright. Earlier this year, Getty created a new way to approach this, releasing code that made it easier for website owners to embed many of its images on their own sites as long as the use was not commercial and the images were attributed to Getty.

Microsoft’s Bing service, which was launched on August 22, offers a similar embedding service, where pictures found on its images search engine can be added to a website with just a click. However, unlike Getty, the Microsoft feature doesn’t forbid the commercial use of the images and does not enforce that websites show the original source of pictures, adding the Bing name instead. Notably, Microsoft does not have the authority to hand legal rights to the unlicensed images it takes from the web, leaving users vulnerable to legal attacks themselves.

Getty Images is asking for the blocking of the Bing Image Widget as soon as possible, in addition to financial compensation for ‘incalculable’ damages.