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Google makes it harder to steal photos from Google Images

Google has just made a rather subtle change to its Google Images search – but that will have big repercussions on copyright.

Google has just made a rather subtle change to its Google Images search – but that will have big repercussions on copyright.

Via the button displays from Google Images

Announced Thursday on Twitter, the company has removed the "View image" button from image search, which makes it more complicated to directly save copyrighted images.

What changes in Google Images

First, being a direct link to a high resolution version of the chosen image, the "view image" button was a concern for photographers, publishers and stock image sites, as allowed access to a high resolution version of the image without visiting the source.

With the elimination of the instrument, you will still be able to visit the source of the image with the "visit" button, but this additional step, supposed to make people less likely to steal copyrighted material, seeing the images in their original context.

The partnership with Getty Images

This small but significant change stems in particular from Google's new global multi-year licensing partnership with Getty Images, which allows Google to use Getty's content within its various products and services.

The partnership was developed after Getty filed a complaint against Google in 2016, accusing the company of anticompetitive practices within Google Images and "distorting search results in favor of its services", inducing less need to visit websites of sources like Getty to download the original image.

"As the consumption of images (in Google Images) immediate, when an image is displayed in large format at high resolution, there is not a great impulse to visualize the image on the site of origin", one read in the press release of Getty .

It remains to be seen whether simply removing a button will significantly limit copyright infringement within Google Images. But a beginning.

Google Images