Bing Temporarily Removes New Image Widget

Bad news for Bing’s new Image Widget: The feature has been temporarily removed.

The move comes after stock photo agency Getty Images filed a lawsuit citing “massive infringement,” reports say.

bing-image-widget

The feature launched in late August. According to Bing, it was intended to make it easier to display images and slideshows on websites by providing access to the code necessary to display search result images.

However, per Reuters, Getty’s lawsuit says the widget gives users access to billions of online images without consideration to copyrights.

“We have temporarily removed the Bing Image Widget beta so we can take time to talk with Getty Images and better understand its concerns,” a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an email.

A Getty rep sent a nearly identical statement: “Microsoft has agreed to temporarily remove the Bing Image Widget beta while it works with Getty Images to discuss our concerns.”

However, Reuters quotes Getty’s general counsel, John Lapham, who said the widget helps websites embed copyrighted images for commercial use.

“Now you have someone else’s picture in full, beautiful display on your website, having never paid for it and with no attribution to the photographer at all,” Lapham told Reuters.

The Reuters story also quoted the lawsuit, saying, “In effect, [the] defendant 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.”

According to Reuters, Getty asked a judge in U.S. District Court to block the widget and award unspecified damages.

Getty Images represents more than 80 million unique works of digital imagery, the rep says.

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