Online only, so far

Google should not be an image publisher

NINE German photographers' and designers' associations have sent an open letter to Google criticising infringement of the interests and rights of photographers, picture agencies, illustrators and graphic artists by the new Google image search.

The changes that concerns them include the new grid of found images showing each picture without reference to the website address they come from and without copyright information, but with a button to "share" it in Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and to e-mail. It also shows a collection of supposedly similar pictures. (To be slightly fair: currently it is showing the Freelance a note in grey-on-grey that "Las imágenes pueden estar sujetas a derechos de autor: when did we press that button?).

The organisations note that to display the image in original size and to integrate it into the source code of the site are both unauthorised copying and unauthorised "making-available". The display of the found images at original size means users are unlikely to visit the source webpage. Google "is thus itself the content provider, which provides a search-generated picture album for browsing". The "share" function is also not a necessary part of the search result display.

The nine federations are calling on Google Germany to return to a right-to-look search screen, especially to remove the Blow-Up and Share features.

The associations signing the letter are: Federal Association of Professional Image Providers (BVPA), German Association of Journalists (DJV), dju in ver.di, Center of Picture Industry (CEPIC), Illustrators Organization, Professional Image Creators (pic), AGD (Alliance of German Designers) , Berufsverband Freie Fotografen und Filmgestalter eV (BFF) and the Central Association of German Professional Photographs - Bundesinnungsverband.

The Freelance is, with others, looking into the legal position of the new Google image search in the UK.