EVA joins competition law complaint against Google Image Search filed by CEPIC

EVA (European Visual Artist), which represents collective management organisations for visual arts, joined CEPIC (Center of the Picture Industry) in its complaint filed against Google Image Search this week. The competition law complaint, filed in November 2013, was already followed by a similar complaint in April of this year by Getty Images.

Google changed its image search features in 2013, making full-size high resolution versions of images available to download and use directly on its site, thereby diverting users from source websites and acting as an image databank service, which is a service that requires licensing. Rather than license content, Google offers “take it or leave it” deals that exclude any form of fair negotiation. Image providers were told to either accept the new situation or opt-out entirely of image search, which essentially means opting out of the web.

GESAC is supportive of CEPIC and EVA. This case makes it clear that the value being made from cultural content by some online platforms, which doesn’t make its way to the creators of that very content (transfer of value), is a cross-sectoral issue that distorts the market in different ways: little to no remuneration for creators due to misinterpretation of the “safe harbour” regime for copyright protected content, and abuse of an unbalanced position leading to inefficient and unhealthy market conditions.

Read the full press release here.