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Microsoft and Getty Images settle dispute: Are now working together

Microsoft recently launched a new Bing Image Widget, allowing websites to embed galleries of photos onto websites. Even though the basic premise seemed interesting, the issue arose when Microsoft failed to sort through copyrighted photos.

This lead to plenty of photos from Getty Images and other image services like Reuters and Flickr getting onto the image widget. These were not identified as copyright photos, meaning the website did not know which ones were legally allowed to be shown.

Even though Microsoft claimed it had shut down the service while it sorted things out, Getty sent another complaint when it found the image widget was available in other countries.

“Rather than draw from a licensed collection of images, [Microsoft] gathers these images by crawling as much of the Internet as it can, copying and indexing every image it finds, without regard to the copyright status of the images and without permission from copyright owners like [Getty],” said Getty in a statement to the court.

Microsoft has closed the widget, claiming it has reached an agreement with Getty.

The two companies will work together “to create beautiful, engaging applications and services for Microsoft users with licensed content and attribution for photographers and other content creators,” they said in a joint statement earlier today.

It is another move by Getty to hold its own copyright in place and not allow technology companies to wisp it away so easily. Getty and many other photographers, artists and photo holders have tried for years to make sure Google, Yahoo and other tech companies understand the licensing rights of photos on the internet.

News that it will work with Microsoft on applications could be a fruitful start for Getty, but we do not expect much to come out of this considering the barriers already put in place by the image seller.