"The type of claim Getty is making "failed in the United States in Perfect 10 v. Google," noted Ben Depoorter, Sunderland Chair at UC Hastings College of the Law.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Google's framing and hyperlinking as part of an image search engine constituted fair use because it was highly transformative.
However, in Getty's case, "the context is different," Depoorter told TechNewsWorld, "because of the antitrust angle and the fact that EU countries do not have a similar broad and flexible fair use exception to copyright law."
Google Images "is part of Google's continued effort to provide the most attractive search engine in the world," Depoorter remarked. Image thumbnails on Google "direct you to other websites," and the higher-res versions "seek to improve the display of the results."
Google "will claim that they're in the business of directing traffic to the sites, not replacing them," he suggested."