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OH SNAP: Getty Images sues Microsoft over Bing pics widget

Redmond accused of turning web into 'unlicensed clip art' collection

Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Getty Images has flung a sueball at Microsoft, alleging that the new Bing Image Widget breaches its copyright.

Microsoft says the widget “enhances your web site with the power of Bing Image Search and provides your users with beautiful, configurable image collages and slideshows.” The widget is easy to use: at this page you feed it a search term and it produces either a slideshow or a collage of images corresponding to your chosen word or words.

Here's one we prepared earlier by asking the service to work with the search term “Theregister.co.uk vulture logo”:

Getty already offers its own embedding tool, which controls the size and resolution at which its images can be used, tracks their use and includes attribution for photographers. The tool makes over 35 million images available for free but Getty retains the copyright.

Microsoft's tool offers none of those niceties and doesn't acknowledge copyright. Hence Getty Images' beef with the service, as reported by Reuters, that Redmond “has turned the entirety of the world's online images into little more than a vast, unlicensed 'clip art' collection for the benefit of those website publishers who implement the Bing Image Widget, all without seeking permission from the owners of copyrights in those images.”

A Microsoft spokesentity told the newswire it will consider the suit seriously, especially as Redmond is an intellectual property business itself. ®

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