Google, Getty Images enter a multi-year global licensing partnership

Late last week, Google parent Alphabet and Getty Images announced a sweeping partnership that effectively ends a long-standing copyright and antitrust dispute between Getty and Google, which was filed in early 2016.
The newly announced deal was characterized by Getty as “a multi-year global licensing partnership, enabling Google to use Getty Images’ content within its various products and services.” As part of that deal, Google will be using Getty images across many of its “products and services.”
Another change, according to The Verge, is that Google will make copyright attribution and disclaimers more prominent in image search results and will remove view links to stand-alone URLs for Getty photographs.
Getty’s complaint against Google alleged traffic and revenue losses to its customers’ sites because users could see (and potentially copy) images directly from Google Image Search results. Getty claimed that the ability to save and download images promoted copyright infringement and “piracy.” Getty is not the only party to have made

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India’s competition regulator fines Google $21.1 million for ‘search bias’ in travel results

India’s Competition Commission (CCI) today fined Google $1.36 billion rupees (roughly $21.1 million) for “abuse of its dominant position” in search. The specific finding made by CCI (in a 4 to 2 decision) surrounded Google’s treatment of flight search results.
CCI said that Google “allocated disproportionate real estate” to the box of sponsored flight results at the top of the page, which the Committee said disadvantaged “verticals trying to gain market access”:

CCI found prominent display of Commercial Flight Unit by Google on Search Engine Result Page (SERP) with link to Google’s specialised search options/ services (Flight) in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Act. CCI noted in its order that Google through its search design has not only placed its commercial flight unit at a prominent position on SERP, it has also allocated disproportionate real estate thereof to such units to the disadvantage of verticals trying to gain market access. Besides, it was also found

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US court orders Google not to comply with Canadian court’s order delisting search results

A federal court in California has blocked implementation of a Canadian Supreme Court ruling that ordered Google to delist websites associated with a company called Datalink from Google’s global index. The Canadian decision (Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions) was an example of a court in one country asserting authority over global activity outside its jurisdiction.
Because Google exhausted its appeals in Canada, the company filed an action in the US District Court in Northern California, asserting that the Canadian decision violates US law. The US federal court agreed with Google and issued a preliminary injunction — effectively overruling the Canadian Supreme Court:
Congress recognized that free speech on the internet would be severely restricted if websites were to face tort liability for hosting user-generated content . . . It responded by enacting Section 230 [of the Communications Decency Act], which grants broad immunity to online intermediaries . . .
The Canadian order would eliminate Section 230 immunity for service providers that link to third-party websites.

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Alphabet to create separate business unit in Europe to run Google Shopping

According to Bloomberg, Google is going to create a separate business unit to manage shopping content in search results to comply with the European Commission’s recent antitrust decision. This unit will reportedly be required to compete in the auction against shopping competitors.
The unit will apparently use its own budget and revenues to bid in the auction and will only exist in the EU. Shopping search will continue as is in other markets, including the US.
Reuters had earlier reported that Google was going to “display rival shopping comparison sites via an auction.” That approach appeared to be similar to the earlier “rival links” proposal that failed to settle the antitrust dispute before the formal complaint (statement of objections) was filed in 2015.
Google was fined roughly $2.7 billion (€2.4 billion) for abuse of market position in shopping search. The fine was the largest antitrust penalty in EU history. The previous record was $1.3 billion against Intel. As part of the

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Yelp says Google violated ‘do not crawl’ provision of 2013 FTC settlement agreement

Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com
Yelp has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asserting that Google is improperly using Yelp images in local search results in violation of its 2013 antitrust settlement with the regulatory agency. Yelp also circulated the letter to several members of Congress and state attorneys general, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The 2013 settlement concluded nearly two years of investigations and political maneuvering. As part of the agreement, Google said it would:
[M]ake available a web-based notice form that provides website owners with the option to opt out from display on Google’s Covered Webpages of content from their website that has been crawled by Google. When a website owner exercises this option, Google will cease displaying crawled content from the domain name designated by the website owner on Covered Webpages on the google.com domain in the United States. Website owners will be able to exercise the opt-out described above by completing a web-based

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Report: Google to appeal $2.7 billion EU fine

According to The Telegraph, Google is planning to file an appeal against the roughly $2.7 billion (€2.4 billion) antitrust fine imposed by the European Commission in June for abuse of market position in shopping search. The fine was the largest in EU history; the previous record fine was $1.3 billion against Intel.
Last week, Intel won a rare partial victory against EU antitrust regulators when the European Court of Justice instructed a lower court to re-examine its decision and take a closer look at the underlying facts and market impact of Intel’s behavior.
It’s not clear whether last week’s decision impacted Google’s thinking on whether or not to appeal (Google’s decision was likely made before last week). Though it will likely be in process for several years, an appeal makes sense because the company faces potential similar fines and demands for change around other types of “vertical search” results such as maps/local, travel and other categories.
Google is required to submit proposals

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Top European court to decide if Google needs to purge disputed links from global index

A top European court will now decide whether Google must remove “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) links from its global search index. The French data protection authority, Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), previously argued RTBF can be defeated when disputed content remains in Google’s global index.
In 2015, CNIL demanded global delisting to enforce RTBF. Accordingly, the regulator has effectively sought authority over Google’s search results in countries outside Europe — beyond its legal jurisdiction.
Google complied within Europe but declined to do so globally. CNIL then fined Google roughly 100,000€ for not following its directive to purge disputed content globally.
Google has correctly resisted CNIL on the grounds that citizens of other countries should not be subject to French or European law. Google has defended limiting RTBF removals to European users and has taken a number of steps to prevent people in Europe from accessing RTBF links:
We’ve been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court’s ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling focused

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Canada’s Supreme Court orders Google to de-index site globally, opening door to censorship

The Canadian Supreme Court has ordered Google to de-index an e-commerce site globally. This sets a disastrous precedent that opens the door for other governments (and private parties) across the globe to try to control or censor Google’s search results.
The case was Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions. The plaintiff, a small tech company in British Columbia, sued its former distributor, which was selling allegedly counterfeit versions of its products online. An initial injunction against the defendant failed to stop the behavior. The present case against Google went up on appeal, and the Supreme Court granted a worldwide injunction against Google:
In this case, the balance of convenience favoured granting an injunction. The Court of Appeal agreed that the court held jurisdiction over Google with respect to the injunction application. It also concluded that it was permissible to seek interim relief against a non-party. The power to grant injunctions is presumptively unlimited, and injunctions aimed at maintaining order need not be directed solely

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Google receives search warrant for identities of everyone who searched crime victim’s name

According to Ars Technica, police in suburban Minnesota have obtained a court order requiring Google to divulge the identities of people who searched for the name or images of the local victim of financial fraud. It’s clear that the warrant is overly broad and would potentially open the door for similar “lazy” requests by police across the country.
Search warrants and related law are governed by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Typically, a law enforcement official must show “probable cause” to a judge to justify the warrant. Warrants may be issued against third parties that are not the subject of criminal investigation but may have information relevant to the investigation.
The warrant in this case seeks the identity and associated information of all users who searched for the victim’s name, including home addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, email addresses, payment information (e.g., credit cards) and IP and MAC addresses. Obviously, the privacy implications

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Google says no algorithm changes in new deal to demote pirated content in UK search results

The UK Intellectual Property Office announced what they call a “landmark agreement” between Google and Microsoft Bing for “reducing the visibility of infringing content” in the UK search results by June 1, 2017. But Google tells Search Engine Land that they are “changing nothing today as a result of the announcement/code of conduct.”
Google already has a Pirate algorithm that is in place to deal with DMCA complaints and other forms of pirated content in the search results. So when we heard this announcement, we asked Google if they are changing this algorithm or putting a new one in place. Google explained that the “Voluntary Code of Practice” that was agreed to here will test to make sure the measures both Google and Bing are taking are successful in keeping bad content out of search results.
Google seems to already believe that their algorithms are indeed doing a good job keeping such content out of their search results.
There likely

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