Why does Google care about Getty Images?

A little less than a week ago, Google removed
the “View Image” button on Google Images because of a partnership they made with Getty
Images. This partnership with Getty Images has caused
Google to remove the view image button, make copyright notices more prominent, and remove
the reverse image search button from Google Images. Google says that these changes were made to
“strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns,” but why does Google
care so much about what Getty Images thinks anyways? How big is Getty Images, and why are they
so important? To understand why Getty Images is so gigantic
today, we need to understand what Getty Images is. Getty Images is a company that has over 80
million stock photos for sale for companies and publishers. There are a few reasons why Getty Images has
risen above other stock photo agencies over the last 22 years, but all of them effectively
boil down to Getty Images’ understanding of the Internet. Getty Images, or as it was originally called
Getty Investments, was founded in 1995, and it was around this time that many Americans
and businesses were accessing the Internet for the first time. When Mark Getty and Johnathan Klein created
Getty Investments, one of the first things they did was start digitizing photos that
were on film for release on the Internet. Mark Getty, the founder of Getty Investments,
was born into a very wealthy family that made a huge amount of money off of oil and their
company Getty Oil, so Mark Getty already had an archive of over 25 million pictures before
Getty Investments made its first major move: merging with a company named PhotoDisc. PhotoDisc was another stock photo agency that
had already created a website for their images, and once the two companies merged into one,
they renamed themselves Getty Images. It was after this merger that Getty Images
really started digitizing and uploading all of their pictures they had on film to the
Internet. After the PhotoDisc merger, it was only uphill
for Getty Images. The next step in Getty Images’ plan was
to acquire every stock photo agency they could including Tony Stone Images, art.com, Allsport,
World View, the Michael Ochs Archives, and many, many more. These series of acquisitions stopped any major
competition for Getty Images as no image library’s size could compare to Getty Images’ library. Getty Images also grew because it gave businesses
a single place to go for all of their stock images, and because more businesses were using
Getty Images, more photographers started submitting to Getty Images, letting Getty Images continue
to grow itself. Now, Getty Images is great and all, but why
is a company as big as Google listening to Getty Images when it comes to Google Images? Well, Getty Images is notorious for taking
extreme action on copyright infringement of pictures from their website. When a company finds out that another website
or business is using their content outside of copyright, the company typically sends
out a DMCA Takedown Notice or a cease-and-desist. When Getty Images finds out that another website
is infringing on the copyright of their content, instead of sending a cease-and-desist, Getty
Images sends out a demand letter. When Getty Images sends out one of their demand
letters, the letters usually call for a large amount of money. Because Getty Images opts to send demand letters
to people who are using their pictures, many people have criticized Getty Images saying
that Getty Images’ demand letters are too intimidating, and even a form of extortion. In 2016, Getty Images came under fire and
received a lot of bad publicity after they sent out a demand letter to the photographer
who owned the photos that Getty Images was defending. This photographer had released all of her
pictures to the public, and tried to sue Getty Images for one billion dollars. Although the lawsuit wasn’t successful,
the lawsuit made the general public aware of Getty Images’ exploitative behavior towards
copyright infringement. So that’s why Google doesn’t want to upset
Getty Images. Getty Images has grown into one of the largest
stock photo companies in the world and is very serious about copyright infringement. It’s understandable that Google doesn’t
want to upset Getty Images after what they have done in the past, and a partnership with
Getty Images might be Google’s best bet for keeping Google Images alive. If you still wish to view a full image on
Google Images, you can still right click on the image and select “open in new tab.” And if you still want to reverse Google Image
search, simply drag an image onto the Google Images search bar. Thanks for watching, and if you wish to see
when I upload my next video or go live, don’t be afraid to subscribe. Goodbye.

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