Google nixes ‘view image’ button after Getty Images copyright deal

16 Feb 2018

Google Image search results. Image: ThomasDeco/Shutterstock

Google has made an agreement with Getty Images after the photo library raised concerns about image theft.

Major photo library Getty Images has claimed a victory against Google after it complained to the European Commission about the search giant’s practices, accusing it of implementing anticompetitive measures.

Both companies entered a licensing agreement earlier in February that would allow Getty-licensed images to appear in Google Images. The decision came as Getty accused Google of enabling piracy in its original complaints.

Photographers and publishers alike have long been critical of the Google, as they felt that theft of their work was enabled by certain features.

Searching for images on Google will change

Getty Images said Google’s image search made it easy for users to find and take images without obtaining a licence or the appropriate permissions. Previously, the image search function had a ‘view image’ button that would allow the image to be opened in an individual tab, making it simpler to download.

This ‘view image’ button has now been removed as part of the agreement between Google and Getty Images. It is still possible for users to download an image, but they will now have to take a few extra steps and go through the website the image itself is hosted on to find it.

This process will be the same for all images, even those that are free to use under Creative Commons regulations and other fair-use images.

Google SearchLiaison tweeted yesterday (15 February): “Today we’re launching some changes on Google Images to help connect users and useful websites. This will include removing the View Image button.

“The Visit button remains, so users can see images in the context of the webpages they’re on.”

The company added that the changes are “designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns – both stakeholders we value”.

Google must also make copyright information beside images more obvious.

The ‘search by image’ button that used to appear has also been removed, but a reverse image search is still possible by dragging the image in question to the search bar.

Google Image search results. Image: ThomasDeco/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects