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Getty Images and Google have announced an interesting new partnership that “includes a multi-year global licensing partnership.” Many details aren’t offered about a licensing agreement for the use of Getty Images content “within [Google’s] various products and services.”  However, PetaPixel obtained an email sent by Getty Images to its photographers.


“[T]oday we are pleased to announce that after working cooperatively with Google over the past months, our concerns are being recognized and we have withdrawn our complaint,” the email obtained by PetaPixel explains.

The 2016 complaint with the European Commission, that is now withdrawn, originally sought to hold Google responsible for what were described as “anti-competitive practices and use of scraped third party imagery through Google Images that diminishes a fair marketplace for content creators.”


Current example of how image search results are displayed within the Google Images search tool.

Two major changes to the Google Images service have been announced:

  • a larger and more prominently displayed copyright notice; and
  • removal of the “View Image” button that provides a direct URL to access higher-resolution versions of images.

These changes should help photographers better control how their images are used (often) by people that misunderstand how Google Images works in the context of copyright laws. Also, the updates to the search tool will give bloggers & creators better visibility into original sources of images returned in search results.


“With this landmark achievement,” said Dawn Airey, CEO, Getty Images, “we can move forward with a strong partner to deliver innovative ways to access creative and editorial content online.”


Let’s see if this same agreement is reached with a wider selection of stock companies, and perhaps stock assets beyond just images. Having more accurate copyright and usage information available within the Google Images search tool would make it a go-to destination for easily finding and obtaining valid licenses for photographs, graphics, and related visual stock assets.

Franklin Graves is the founder of Frankly Legal. He's an internet creator and practicing attorney based out of Nashville, TN.


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