Big media companies owned by profit-hungry private equity groups don’t normally give their core products away for free.

But Getty Images, which was acquired for $3.3bn by Carlyle in 2012, is doing just that. The world’s largest supplier of stock photos has made more than 30m images available to people to share for free on their blogs and social media sites, including tumblr, WordPress and Twitter.

This is not charity, however. Behind the move lies cold commercial logic. It’s all about data, control and advertising. Read more

German publishers just can’t seem to make their minds up about Google.

Publishers such as Axel Springer pushed hard this year for a new law that only allows Google to include snippets of their articles in Google News if they have explicitly opted in to the service.

That law was introduced today – but nothing has changed. Rather than withholding their content, Germany’s top publishers have given Google News permission to continue as before. Read more

Google logoA strange episode in the long-running battle between Google and Belgian newspaper groups over the weekend highlighted the complex and delicate relationship that exists between the search engine company and the media.

Copiepresse, an organisation representing Francophone Belgian newspapers, sued Google in 2006, for posting links to pictures and content on the Google News service. Copiepresse won the case and the judgement was upheld by the appeal court in May.  Read more

For months, civil libertarians and internet freedom advocates have been fretting, with good cause, about the nominally secret multilateral negotiations on a document called ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Essentially, the agreement aims to take the flawed US Digital Millennium Copyright Act and export it worldwide, only favoring the copyright holders more.

Numerous leaks showed drafts that would have encouraged signatory nations, including the US, Japan and EU members, to become a sort of super-copyright police, possibly cutting off repeatedly accused pirates from the internet and searching laptops at the border for unapproved movies and music. Read more

It took a long time, but Hasbro, the owner of the rights to Scrabble in the US, has teamed up with Electronic Arts to finally launch an online version of the popular crossword game. The game is available at today, and is scheduled to make its debut on Facebook later this month. So what does this mean for Scrabulous, Scrabble’s ersatz competitior, which took Facebook world by storm when it launched last year?

The prognosis isn’t good.  Scrabulous has been under a cloud since January when Hasbro and Mattel, which owns the international rights to the game, sent letters to Facebook asking it to remove the game, citing copyright infringement. Read more