Getty Images Us v. Microsoft Corp.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 11-24-2014
  • Case #: 14cv7114 (DLC)
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164113
  • Full Text Opinion

Copyright infringement claims do not extend to copyrighted material if the material is not stated in the complaint, the material is impossible to identify, and the claim being brought for the copyrighted material lacks originality.

Opinion (Cote): Plaintiff Getty Images Inc. (“Getty”) is a stock photo agency. Defendant Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) is a company that manufactures computer software and consumer electronics. Microsoft developed the Bing Image Search to enable businesses to search and link images to their websites. Getty alleges that Microsoft infringed upon its copyrights by replicating, circulating, and displaying its images using Bing Image Search. Microsoft filed a motion to dismiss the copyright infringement claim. "To establish infringement of copyright, two elements must be proven: (1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of constituent elements of the work that are original.” As to the first element, Getty established ownership of the copyrighted images because it is the “exclusive licensee of each work.” As to the second element, although Getty was unable to identify specific third party users of its copyrighted images, Microsoft did commit copyright infringement because it used Getty’s copyrighted images through Bing Image Search. Getty further contends that its copyright infringement claim extended beyond the sixty-two images mentioned in the complaint. However, since the claims are similar and it would be impossible to obtain information about all the copyrighted images used, the claim only extended to the sixty-two images stated in the complaint. Defendant's Motion to dismiss is DENIED.

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