Google faces problems for releasing copyrighted photos on Google Images

On several occasions we have discussed the problems with the google image database, problems that can be summarized in a simple way: their license filter does not work.

Photography platforms, such as flickr or 500px, have an option that allows you to filter the content so that it is easy to find the photos that can be reused, copied indicating the author. This reference copy can only be made if the image is Creative Commons licensed, and that is something the photographer decides, not the platform. If the photographer does not want his image to be used on any other website, he can upload his work to flickr, 500px, or to his own site, indicating that the image has all rights reserved, that its copying is not allowed, indicating the copyright correspondent.

The problem is that someone can come, capture an image protected by copyright, with Copyright, and publish it on their blog saying that it is free or Creative Commons, and Google index the image. When Google indexes a photo, it searches the web page for the license of the photo, but it has no way of knowing if that license was awarded by the author of the photo or by the person who copied it from its original source, so we return at first: your license filter does not work.

This is the complaint of the photography agency Getty Images, which has just filed a complaint with the European Union Competition Commission for Google to stop showing copyright-protected photos as part of its results.

Getty images accuses Google of promoting piracy by offering content ready to be downloaded. Although Google informs in its search engine that the image may be protected by copyright, no one spends time knowing if that is true, and ends up using the photograph in any way, on any website.

Unfortunately, the solution is not easy. Pirated movies on YouTube can be found and removed quickly, but to remove a photo it would be necessary to create an intelligent search system that finds the author of the photo and verified the type of associated license, and that is practically impossible.

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