EANA Supporting CEPIC Antitrust Complaint Against Google

Posted on 5/20/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The European News Agency Alliance (EANA) has joined the global coalition that supports a formal antitrust complaint against Google’s that has been filed with at the EU Commission. The complaint deals with the unlicensed use of third party pictures and was filed by CEPIC on 8 November 2013 on behalf of thousands of photographers and picture agencies.

EANA, founded in 1956, comprises 32 news agencies inside and outside the European Union. EANA is the 20th media organization joining the CEPIC coalition.?

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.

CEPIC points out that, “Since the redesign of Google Images in January 2013, the situation has become 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 that hosts the image.”
“As a result of these developments, Google diverts users’ attention from the legitimate rightholders to its own services, benefiting thereby from the rightholders’ investments. The image providers in turn are deprived of the credit and fruits of their work. Google has also rejected the implementation of any adequate technical mechanism that would allow image providers to better control how their images appear on-line, CEPIC considers Google’s exploitation of third-party’s images as an abuse of dominance under Article 102 AEUV.”?

Peter Kropsch, EANA president and CEO of Austrian news agency APA, said, “We are pleased for the opportunity to support CEPIC´s initiative to clarify the situation related to rights on pictures at the European level. The core of the news agency business model is based on trade with rights to use content. Almost all news agencies offer picture services today. Due to rising demand for visual content, the importance of the picture business is constantly enhancing. EANA strongly believes that sustained production of quality content - be it text or be it picture - must be based on a clear rights situation that offers a fair share to the producers of quality news services.”?

Alfonso Gutierrez, CEPIC president said, ”We applaud EANA’s decision to join forces with CEPIC to protect the interest of all right holders in the licensing chain of visual and newsworthy content. We are glad to see that we both share the same views with regards to the importance of safeguarding the production of high quality visual content by ensuring that all visual content providers are fairly treated for all their efforts. We have now a unique opportunity to raise the voice of an important industry which unfortunately is often underestimated.”?

Earlier this year Selling Stock outlined at least a partial solution that Google could easily implement. All Google would have to do is support the development of a separate Licensing Required database that would only include images belonging to creators that expect to be compensated in some way when their images are used. Creators would be responsible for insuring that their images are included in this database. Contact information of the creator, or an organization that could license rights, would be attached to each image.

Then, if those using the current Google Images search were to find an image somewhere on the Internet that they want to use they could easily do a separate visual search of the License Image database to determine if the image needs to be licensed, and where to go to get proper permissions. 

Copyright © 2014 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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