Microsoft takes down Bing Image Widget in light of lawsuit from Getty Images


On September 4th, it was revealed that Getty Images had filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in U.S. District Court targeting the newly released Bing Image Widget. Getty wanted the Bing Image Widget to be blocked, claiming that Microsoft had turned digital images into a free ‘clip art’ collection.

In light of these allegations, Microsoft has taken down the Beta version of the Bing Image Widget. “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 spokesman told Recode.

For those that did not know, the Bing Image Widget allows websites to embed galleries and slideshows into websites. These images are supplied by Bing. Getty claims that these images are not from a licensed or purchased collection of images, effectively turning “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.”

If you head over to the Bing Image Widget website, you will now see an error that says “We have temporarily removed the beta.” Microsoft will keep the tool offline until it can resolve the issue with Getty Images.

Getty, for those who did not know, is a company that produces and provides media, and has a product similar to the Bing Image Widget. However, Getty’s tool is only used on non-commercial websites and includes photographer attribution.