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bing image widgetA judge has denied Microsoft’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Getty Images, which is claiming “massive” copyright infringement.

Back in September, Getty Images sued Microsoft over a Bing search tool that allowed people to easily embed digital photographs onto their websites. The lawsuit essentially alleged that Microsoft was making it too easy to steal copyrighted images.

Since Seattle-based Getty has one of the largest photo depositories on the Internet, it has a clear stake in the outcome of this case. But even though Microsoft has temporarily removed the widget from its site, pledging to address Getty’s concerns, it appears the court case will continue.

Court documents filed yesterday in New York’s federal court show that Microsoft’s request to dismiss the lawsuit has been denied.

In a statement, a Microsoft spokesman said: “We’ve already disabled the Bing image widget beta and believe there is no need for this case to continue.”

bingsponsorIn yesterday’s ruling, Judge Denise Cote, wrote that Microsoft failed to make a sufficient argument for why the case should be thrown out. The court documents reveal that the Bing widget was downloaded several times, and within a short period, was responsible for reproducing, distributing and publicly displaying 62 images. Some of those images were owned by Getty.

In the motion to dismiss, Microsoft argued the case shouldn’t continue because Getty failed to show it owned the 62 pieces of art, and that it any of the third-party Widget users infringed on an image. The judge dismissed both arguments, adding that Getty will not be limited to pursuing claims on just these 62 images.

Microsoft did have one small victory in yesterday’s ruling. Getty agreed it would not be able to recover damages for items that were registered for copyright protection after the widget was made available publicly.

In its original complaint, Getty asked the courts to force Microsoft into enabling the widget to get permission to use the imagery before distributing it on websites.

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