The complaint addresses Google’s various unauthorized uses of third-party images in its horizontal Web Search and its specialized services, in particular Google Images. Google increasingly uses on-line images without the rightholders’ consent, sometimes even against their explicit will. Since the redesign of Google Images in January 2013, the situation got worse: Google presents images in full size and high resolution on its site and enables users to download them without ever having to click through to the original website hosting the image. Google does not even inform users properly about the origin of images and their copyright protection.
We had a thread about the January 2013 Google Image revamp here on webmasterworld, with webmasters expressing discontent about full-size image hotlinking on the SERPs themselves, and bypassing the author's websites: [webmasterworld.com ]
I'm surprised it took so long for a legal challenge to be launched, and that it didn't happen in the US first.
I'm also surprised Google was singled out; didn't other search engines show full-size images before Google did?
My pictorial content was getting "raped" by pinners pinning from search engine image result pages, and was repeatedly hijacked by hackers with image search exploits that pushed my original image down the SERPs, and the high placement usurped by hackers.
With the new image search format, I lost 90% of my image search traffic.
I decided it wasn't worth having my images indexed anymore, to get no visitors while making myself vulnerable to hacks and copyright infringement.
Since January I have excluded all search engines from my images folders.
Pinterest pioneered a model where the onus is placed on websmasters to opt out of having their content infringed upon. They didn't get sued yet... because image producers are individuals and have no clout. Getty Images, being a big players, just negotiated for Pinterest to give them a licensing fee.
Search engines aren't stupid, they are following that model.
I'm glad there is hope that this madness be stopped. But the courts move slowly.