Google Getty Images

Google seems to be under fire lately. Less than a week from the European Union’s charges against the Mountain View company regarding supposedly unfair practices towards its hardware partners, TIME is reporting that the famous stock photo agency Getty Images is now accusing the technology giant of “promoting piracy” with its Images search engine…

While up until 2013 Google Images only showed low-res thumbnails of the photos it retrieved, results are now shown in their full resolution, and this seems to be the core of Getty’s complaint.

As per the TIME’s report: “There is little impetus to view the image on the original source site,” as the full image is already available on Google’s site. This “also promoted piracy, resulting in widespread copyright infringement, turning users into accidental pirates,” Getty said in a statement.

“Getty Images represents over 200,000 photojournalists, content creators and artists around the world who rely on us to protect their ability to be compensated for their work,” said Yoko Miyashita, the general counsel of Getty Images. “Google’s behavior is adversely affecting not only our contributors, but the lives and livelihoods of artists around the word, present and future.”

The photo agency is also seemingly taking action against Google by asking the EU commission to scrutinise these activities. “We want Google to go back to search functioning as search,” Miyashita told TIME “and not search functioning as a substitute of publishers.”

Miyashita also wrote an open letter to photographers, photojournalists and image industry people alike, asking them to join Getty’s petition by writing to their respective regulators. In her own words, this is in fact not just Getty’s problem, but something that “affects the entire image industry”.

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