Business dispute between Microsoft and Getty Images settles

When a company takes the time to copyright its materials, it expects other companies to honor that fact. However, companies accusing other companies of copyright infringement file numerous lawsuits around the country, including some here in Maryland. One such business dispute between Getty Images against Microsoft Corp. recently settled.

Nearly 80 million images are either owned by Getty Images or protected by Getty on behalf of other owners. In court papers filed in Sept. 2014, Getty alleged that Bing Image Widget, a Microsoft online photo tool, published photos copyrighted by Getty on Microsoft's search engine, Bing. Getty says it did not receive any attribution or payment for the use of the images.

The day after the lawsuit was filed, Microsoft took down the images, but that did not deter Getty from moving forward with its lawsuit. The judge presiding over the case denied Microsoft's motion to dismiss the case in November. These two factors may have been the impetus for the companies to begin settlement negotiations. Getty and Microsoft recently announced their intentions to dismiss their claims against each other now that a settlement was reached, which reportedly includes more than just a resolution to the copyright issue.

Getty's persistence in litigating this business dispute may have led to what could be a lucrative partnership between it and the software giant. Business owners in Maryland could discover that the resolution to a dispute is actually to create or expand a business relationship instead of simply ending it. Once the details are worked through, an agreement could be executed that cements that new relationship and protects both parties as they move forward.

Source:, "Microsoft, Getty Images settle dispute over online photo tool", Andrew Chung, April 7, 2015

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