Getty Images has added further complaints to the European anti-competition investigation against Google.
The company said that it operates in "direct competition" with Google in the provision of "specialised image search and shopping services to end users".
Getty Images claimed in a statement that Google holds a huge chunk of the market and exploits its position and scale to the detriment of competitors. A total of 19 companies are now complainants in the European Union investigation.
"Google holds over 90 percent of the image search market in Europe and is accused of leveraging its dominant position in general web searches to favour its own service, Google Image Search," Getty Images said.
"Among other things, Google is accused of using images that are owned and/or distributed by Getty Images to build and promote its own image search vertical, while demoting the appearance of original content providers like Getty Images in general web search results."
Getty Images said that Google Image Search has changed since it was introduced in 2007, and "has succeeded in driving additional traffic to itself and created a captive environment that ensures that traffic on Google almost never diverts to the source sites of the images".
"These activities have allowed Google to create and maintain dominant market shares in general and image search," the company added.
"By reserving all user traffic, engagement and data activity within its own ecosystem, Google further benefits itself at the expense of the original content owners' growth, as Google becomes better informed about the data and customers of its competitors."
Google is also accused of a practice called 'web scraping' which Getty said amounts to the "outright duplication of copyrighted material", and of ranking competitor sites like Getty Images in lowly places in search results.
This and the ability to right click and save an image through the search engine add up to facilitating "theft", according to Getty Images.
"Google is benefitting from the use of Getty Images content, used to generate results within Google Image Search, without sending the image searchers to the Getty Images website or other competing image search engines," the firm said.
"Furthermore, with its large-format display, it allows end users to easily copy the images by simply right clicking on them, resulting in massive theft of original content.
"Google's exclusionary behaviour is severely impacting Getty Images services, exploiting its intellectual property and limiting future opportunities."
Getty Images told V3: "Getty Images welcomes the opportunity to raise these issues in its capacity as an ‘interested party' to the European Commission's proceedings.
"Getty Images provides specialised image search and image shopping services to end users in direct competition with Google Images.
"Since its founding in 1995, Getty Images has made heavy investments in image search innovations to create metadata-rich, real-time relevant search experiences for its users.
"As concerns with Google's search practices have come to light, it's a critical time for Getty Images to highlight the economic and competitive harm caused by Google to Getty Images and the 200,000+ photographers, illustrators and filmmakers and 300+ image partners it represents."
V3 asked Google to respond to the claims but had not received a reply at the time of publication.
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