Getty Images is suing me - and it is not my fault

by mmixon
93 replies
Got a letter last week from Getty Images claiming that my website contained a picture that was under their copyright protection. They are demanding a cash settlement.

Thing is that the picture was posted by someone else, on a blog that is attached to my website, where I post articles for seo.

I explained the situation, and they said basically that it didn't matter. My website, my blog, and I am responsible for what is posted on it. So I thought it was not my fault, but apparently it is, at least according to them.

Anyone else had a run-in with Getty Images? Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Mickey
#fault #getty #images #suing
  • Profile picture of the author Naks
    Thats really lame on their part.
    Does the image on your site have a "getty images" water mark? Because if not, then you could easily fight this. How can they prove that they're the original owners of the picture? Seems hard to do, specially with no watermark… If they're asking for a lot of cash, then I'd just try and fight it.

    Then again, I could be wrong. I'll let another member chime in. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author kingde
    Originally Posted by mmixon View Post

    Got a letter last week from Getty Images claiming that my website contained a picture that was under their copyright protection. They are demanding a cash settlement.

    Thing is that the picture was posted by someone else, on a blog that is attached to my website, where I post articles for seo.

    I explained the situation, and they said basically that it didn't matter. My website, my blog, and I am responsible for what is posted on it. So I thought it was not my fault, but apparently it is, at least according to them.

    Anyone else had a run-in with Getty Images? Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Mickey
    I thought the next step is a cease and desist where you have a chance to remove it
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  • Profile picture of the author JPaston
    Basically Getty Images have spiders that trawl the web looking for images that contain their hidden watermark. Then they go after you.

    As the image didn't originate on your blog but was syndicated from another, try just removing the offending post. Then tell them what you've done and why. Hopefully they won't pursue it further.

    As to the legal situation, Warriors can't advise for obvious reasons. But this should serve as a warning that copying images from Search Engine results without checking the originating copyright is asking for this sort if trouble.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    I can't look it up right now, but there is some sort of law that says that a forum/blog owner isn't responsible for what is posted by its users if I recall correctly.

    Not sure what the limitations are but I believe this is true. Of course I'm not a lawyer and not sure about any of this - just seems like I remember it. You may want to look it up or speak to your own lawyer about it.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

      I can't look it up right now, but there is some sort of law that says that a forum/blog owner isn't responsible for what is posted by its users if I recall correctly.

      Not sure what the limitations are but I believe this is true. Of course I'm not a lawyer and not sure about any of this - just seems like I remember it. You may want to look it up or speak to your own lawyer about it.

      Mark
      Yeah but, if I recall correctly, there has to be a registered agent to accept notices from copyright holders.

      Garrie
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  • Profile picture of the author rmolina88
    I've heard of Getty Images from my old job and they're pretty ruthless.

    They asked $700 per picture that my old job used for their blog and I don't think it really went anywhere.

    Definitely look up more info online and consult a laywer if you need to. Right now, it looks like a scam according to what I've looked up in google, but you can never be too sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author IanM723
      Originally Posted by rmolina88 View Post

      I've heard of Getty Images from my old job and they're pretty ruthless.

      They asked $700 per picture that my old job used for their blog and I don't think it really went anywhere.

      Definitely look up more info online and consult a laywer if you need to. Right now, it looks like a scam according to what I've looked up in google, but you can never be too sure.
      Wow...Scary Stuff!

      Well, I am on the conservative side myself so I think I would pretty much do 2 things immediately:

      1. Remove the image immediately and inform them of your actions.
      2. Consult with an attorney who has some experience with this type of matter.

      Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author DotComBum
    I am sure they need to request you to remove it first before they can demand money from you.
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  • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
    Originally Posted by mmixon View Post

    Got a letter last week from Getty Images claiming that my website contained a picture that was under their copyright protection. They are demanding a cash settlement.

    Thing is that the picture was posted by someone else, on a blog that is attached to my website, where I post articles for seo.

    I explained the situation, and they said basically that it didn't matter. My website, my blog, and I am responsible for what is posted on it. So I thought it was not my fault, but apparently it is, at least according to them.

    Anyone else had a run-in with Getty Images? Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Mickey
    Ianal. This is just my layman's opinion.

    First of all, they are not suing you, unless they have already filed a law suit. They are threatening to sue you.

    (and yes they can sue, or threaten to sue, without first doing a cease and desist letter).

    Secondly, you may find the following website helpful. There is a ton of information by people who have been through this experience - as well as some lawyer posts - check out the forum in particular - ExtortionLetterInfo: Fight Getty Images Settlement Demand Letters » Reporting on Getty Images Settlement Demand Letters

    Thirdly, if you read that forum, most people think it's not a good idea talking to Getty until you have properly researched where you stand. You clearly haven't just by the title of this post. Getty will of course tend to tell you things that favour their position, and make you more likely to settle, rather than things that might apply in your defense. Likewise by talking to them without knowing what you are doing, you are potentially making admissions or volunteering information they can use against you, and potentially undermining your own defenses.

    Once you have done some basic research, you can then get your own lawyer to handle the response (make sure you get a copyright lawyer), or there's even a lawyer on that forum who will do it for you and who is experienced in dealing with Getty. Or you can respond to getty knowing what you are talking about. Or you can decide to pay Getty. Whatever you decide, you will be doing it with some knowledge, rather thane blindly guessing as how to rpond.

    While i can not verify it., According to that forum, fwiw, Getty have so far sued exactly once over a single image infringement, despite having sent many thousands (?) of demand letters. No doubt some of the recipients of such letters have paid Getty in full, but there are bound to be many many others who haven't and haven't been sued.

    Finally, if you have already done so, you might think it is probably best to immediately remove the image (without immediately running to Getty and admitting liability). You might also consider putting some kind of system in place to stop potentially infringing images being uploaded to your site in future.

    Good luck.

    P.s.

    Is the image even on your site?

    A link to an image that is hosted elsewhere is not copyright infringement (ianal) as far as I know: see amazon vs perfect 10 (it's on Wikipedia, and is discussed on the forum linked above). See this us just one of many possible defences that might apply, depending on circumstances. Every case is different, that's why you need to research (and get professional advice if you can afford it) before responding.
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  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    You are responsible for what is on your site and in the case of social type sites and blogs etc where you are not directly responsible, once you are made aware the responsibilty falls solely on you and I would assume a cease and desist should be in order.

    Basically a take down notice...

    I would delete the image write them back and tell them that under the law you have done what you are obligated to do, apologise and basically word it nicely for them to bring it on in court if they are not happy. Last step, have a beer and stop worrying. Lol.

    No company in their right mind will hire a lawyer and run something as small as this through the courts even if it is a small consumer court. In their opinion it doesn't hurt to try.

    Basically take Eddie Murphy's impersonation of Richard Pryors advice "Well, tell Bill I said have a Coke and a smile and shut the f*ck up. ...."

    Sunnil has give good advice, but for God sakes you don't need a lawyer for a small claim.
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  • Profile picture of the author moneymakingpillars
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    • Profile picture of the author mmixon
      Great responses. Thanks.

      I have removed the offending picture. but they still want their money. They say the picture "enhanced" my website lol.

      I will do more research and see how the others that faced the same thing have come out.

      Mickey
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      • Profile picture of the author DotComBum
        Originally Posted by mmixon View Post

        Great responses. Thanks.

        I have removed the offending picture. but they still want their money. They say the picture "enhanced" my website lol.

        I will do more research and see how the others that faced the same thing have come out.

        Mickey
        I feel that they are just money suckers, don't give even a cent to them, I believe they can't do anything beyond threatening you.
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      • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
        Originally Posted by mmixon View Post

        Great responses. Thanks.

        I have removed the offending picture. but they still want their money. They say the picture "enhanced" my website lol.

        I will do more research and see how the others that faced the same thing have come out.

        Mickey
        Thank them for confirming the image belongs to them and demand a payment for "occupying" the space on your site and giving them exposure. Ask for $795/day plus an administrative fee of $495. Also, additional fee of $295 per response to their correspondence will apply...

        Tell them that if they don't pay the bill within 14 days, you will have collectors after them :-)


        PS. I am not a lawyer, but if Yelp is not responsible for what people post on their site, neither should you...
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        • Profile picture of the author JakeStatler
          Originally Posted by SirThomas View Post

          Thank them for confirming the image belongs to them and demand a payment for "occupying" the space on your site and giving them exposure. Ask for $795/day plus an administrative fee of $495. Also, additional fee of $295 per response to their correspondence will apply...

          Tell them that if they don't pay the bill within 14 days, you will have collectors after them :-)


          PS. I am not a lawyer, but if Yelp is not responsible for what people post on their site, neither should you...
          haha! I love this.. flip the script right back on them! awesome
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  • Profile picture of the author tanbanners
    Originally Posted by garyt View Post

    These are copyright trolls trying to scare people into paying them damages. Sometimes just deleting the image and ignoring them works.
    This happened to me I just deleted the image and told them so.
    I did not hear from them anymore.
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  • Profile picture of the author wordpressmania
    First of all removed the mage and delete the post then tell them what actually happened. I think it will solve your problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author jgant
    I hired an agency to build me a site and they used an unlicensed Getty image. I received the demand for $850.

    I paid the Getty demand, but fortunately I recouped the cost from the agency.

    You can either pay it or wait and see what they do. If it's one image, it's a small amount (relative to other lawsuits).

    Keep in mind if you chance a lawsuit, the filings may be public documents. If you prefer not being named in a copyright infringement suit, you may just want to pay. For example, if you do web design, it wouldn't be cool for prospective clients to stumble on a court filing. It can't help your business.

    Basically, this was the main reason I paid ... I didn't want to be named in a copyright infringement case ... and I knew I'd lose because it was a site I owned.
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    • Profile picture of the author fred67
      Just a thought here ..... Are you absolutely 'sure' that the original notice actually comes from Getty Images?
      Seems like a great Scam to me
      What a great way to suck money from unsuspecting, law-abiding citizens?
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Ayton
        Originally Posted by fred67 View Post

        Just a thought here ..... Are you absolutely 'sure' that the original notice actually comes from Getty Images?
        Seems like a great Scam to me
        What a great way to suck money from unsuspecting, law-abiding citizens?
        You are I are on the same wave link with this.
        Always be wary of crafty scammers
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  • Profile picture of the author DanielCart
    it sounds fishy, its almost as if they built the business just to earn from this method.

    I would remove the image and that is about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author asiriusthoth
    My company received one of these letters about a month ago. The price is $1,220. Our web designer grabbed an image from a website that said "royalty free pictures". Apparently, that wasn't the case. Once we received the letter, our designer immediately DELETED the image from our server. At that time, we declined to reply to the letter.

    We received a 2nd letter a few days ago. We promptly forwarded the letter to our company lawyer, which most likely, he will contact them and offer them a price of 30x of the actual cost of the image. From quick research the image is $1.99, so an honest amount of $59.70 will be offered. All future communication will be done through our lawyer, so I can update you on what the final result will be.

    I have searched the federal and CA, WA, AZ, CO court filings and have only seen a single lawsuit from Getty Images. It doesn't really say what the outcome was. Our lawyer will get back to us Monday to see what she can find out. I would assume GettyImages would be extremely selective in lawsuits, as if they sued a few people and lost it would set a bad president for their future lawsuits.

    BTW... our company lawyer has 20 years in IP and copyright cases; we feel good about it.
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    • Profile picture of the author AffiliatingAlan
      Originally Posted by asiriusthoth View Post

      My company received one of these letters about a month ago. The price is $1,220. Our web designer grabbed an image from a website that said "royalty free pictures". Apparently, that wasn't the case. Once we received the letter, our designer immediately DELETED the image from our server. At that time, we declined to reply to the letter.

      We received a 2nd letter a few days ago. We promptly forwarded the letter to our company lawyer, which most likely, he will contact them and offer them a price of 30x of the actual cost of the image. From quick research the image is $1.99, so an honest amount of $59.70 will be offered. All future communication will be done through our lawyer, so I can update you on what the final result will be.

      I have searched the federal and CA, WA, AZ, CO court filings and have only seen a single lawsuit from Getty Images. It doesn't really say what the outcome was. Our lawyer will get back to us Monday to see what she can find out. I would assume GettyImages would be extremely selective in lawsuits, as if they sued a few people and lost it would set a bad president for their future lawsuits.

      BTW... our company lawyer has 20 years in IP and copyright cases; we feel good about it.
      Couldn't you delete the image and then claim photoshopz on them?
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  • Profile picture of the author SP11
    Like others who have commented here I am NOT a lawyer however because of an experience I had I would seriously investigate whether it's a scam of some sort since you have removed the picture from your site and they are still pursuing it. I had a "Think and grow rich" website and received a letter from the Napoleon Hill Foundation both by email and by airmail saying I was infringing their copyright for using the book title "Think And Grow Rich" even though it's a public domain book as they apparently have copyright over the title. They gave me a time limit to remove the web content which I did and they were happy with that as obviously they were a legitimate company so I do think that as you've taken it off you should be ok but please be careful and if in doubt consult a lawyer if it looks like they will go through with the legal proceedings.

    GOOD LUCK!

    Sandra
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  • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
    They are extortionists of the highest order.

    Don't give them a red cent.

    However, before you tell them to go scratch, make sure you have some knowledge of the laws and your rights so you sound like you're not one to extort.

    Or just ignore them lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    I wonder why otherwise reasonable people that would want to protect their own stuff, can't stand for someone else to protect their stuff?

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author JRJWrites
    This thread is two months old.

    Y'all realize that, right?
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    • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
      Originally Posted by JRJWrites View Post

      This thread is two months old.

      Y'all realize that, right?
      Well I'll be damned lol

      I was half asleep when replying to this
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by DotComBum View Post

        I am sure they need to request you to remove it first before they can demand money from you.
        I could agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong...

        Off topic: If someone ever developed software that could find and identify hidden watermarks (and perhaps create them), they might get rich...
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        • Profile picture of the author onSubie
          Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

          Off topic: If someone ever developed software that could find and identify hidden watermarks (and perhaps create them), they might get rich...
          That is exactly what Getty does. Their bots crawl looking for the hidden watermark to find images and then send the letter.

          And they are getting rich... apparently.
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  • Profile picture of the author cyberws
    I got the same letter from Getty - about one image that I didn't even post - removed the image and ignored the letter. Got a second letter and ignored it, too. Never heard anything else.

    As of a year ago, Getty hadn't actually sued anybody. There ARE some sites, though, that will sue you. The first you will know about it is when you get a notice to appear in court. So be really careful about using images. We're fanatics about images.

    This site is great: ExtortionLetterInfo: Fight Getty Images Settlement Demand Letters » Reporting on Getty Images Settlement Demand Letters

    Oscar recommends replying but I've talked with people who have replied and they're rude and arrogant. They have 3 years to actually sue you for copyright infringement.
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  • Profile picture of the author im2014
    So If I posted an illegal image on this forum who would be responsible?
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  • Profile picture of the author kre8ivecanada
    Sounds like a scam to me OP. If it was a legitimate claim on their behalf they would give you ample time to remove the image and comply with their Terms of Use. However since they are demanding a cash settlement right off the bat it sounds like a scam. I wouldn't pay it no heed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Content Commando
    From everything I've read, plenty of people have simply ignored them and they went away.

    The amount of money that would be required to chase everyone that ignores them would be astronomical.
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  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    Just goes to show it's a good idea to always moderate comments on your blog and delete anything that looks suspicious.
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    • Profile picture of the author NeshSab
      I never took this "image protection" very seriously until now.

      Good lesson to learn from this thread.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnTheJock
        Makes you wonder when they will go after Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc :confused:
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by JohnTheJock View Post

          Makes you wonder when they will go after Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc :confused:
          They can't. They can go after individual account holders, though. And those "private" details? A subpoena will open those up like a tulip in April...
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  • Profile picture of the author Danny Cutts
    We have been fighting both getty images and logonerds and we are winning :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author koolphoto
      So, what a few of you are saying is that if I took your WSO or ebook product and put it on my site for anyone to copy or download you would not have any problem with that.

      I guess you are saying that I as a photographer, I shouldn't profit on my images or use an agency like Getty to protect my interests from being used or stolen.

      I know I sound harsh, but basically this is the dilemma artists face with the internet. The problem is many feel that it is OK to use an image on their site and they will just take it down as soon as they get a cease and desist letter. Then they will just do it again and again.

      So, I ask you again, is it alright to put a WSO or ebook product on a website and just wait for a cease and desist letter. Some seem alright with that.
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  • Profile picture of the author jazbo
    You mean they don't submit a DMCA notice first? Sighs....
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  • Profile picture of the author TaylorCPT
    i got the letter about a year ago, i ignored....i got a 2nd letter about 2 months later and ignored again

    been about 10 months and nothing since.

    i did NOT acknowledge in anyway that I got the letter, I thought it may be viewed as an admission of guilt. I simply removed all images from my site that i didn't take.

    I had googled images and simply linked from other sites thinking it was public domain....i suppose i was wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    If that was truly the case we could probably all get rich by suing facebook. Family friends ect have used my pic on there multiple times.

    I would either call your attorney or if you don't have one or can't afford an attorney will be appointed to you. Well sort of, look up prepaid legal its about 30 bucks for the first month but you get a consultation in the area you want and either the attorney can make a phone call for you or draft a letter to get them off your back.

    If they didn't send you a take down notice then I don't see a court agreeing with there side.
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Originally Posted by hustlinsmoke View Post

      If they didn't send you a take down notice then I don't see a court agreeing with there side.
      Takedown notices are NOT required. A court will not care.
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  • Profile picture of the author chall
    Wow!I had no idea that you can`t post pictures with copyright.I am glad I found out now before I made that mistake.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    These people are known predators. I would immediately consult an attorney. I would absolutely NOT enter into any agreement of any kind with these snakes before consulting with an attorney.

    There have been many cases where Getty themselves cannot even prove copyright over the photos they are trying to get settlements on.

    Whatever you do don't listen to any advice from Getty as any action they tell you to take will undoubtedly be in their best interest and not yours.

    Bottom line - Talk to a lawyer immediately.

    Don't ignore it because I doubt it will go away. They can (and will) turn you over to a collection agency and then they will hound the crap out of you and worst case scenario they will file a lawsuit against you. I say again - consult an attorney who knows what they are talking about!
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  • Profile picture of the author jplazo
    Ignore them.

    I have a very large empowerment forum where some users (not even admin) screen shot several websites to raise some queries. Guess what? the screen shot included images on those third party sites.

    Here comes Getty saying that I violated their copy rights. This notwithstanding BB code was utilized to simply embed the screen shots

    As a lawyer, I told them up yours
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    I'm actually seeing a lot of getty images when I search for images on Google. Is it okay to just credit the image instead?
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    • Profile picture of the author Meharis
      Originally Posted by st0nec0ld View Post

      I'm actually seeing a lot of getty images when I search for images on Google. Is it okay to just credit the image instead?

      st0nec0ld,

      No, you can not. They want you to pay for it.

      Meharis
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
      Originally Posted by RedShifted View Post

      To the OP, this is how you get around image copyrights.

      Save the image on your desktop. Then... [edited out]


      The above post is a perfect example of why you should NEVER take any legal advice from Warrior Forum members.
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  • Profile picture of the author luvtrees
    A couple years ago, I had a client who received this same letter from Getty. Her previous designer had apparently used a Getty image in an animation on her site. She was terrified by this letter. I took down the image from her site and she did not respond to the letter. She never heard anything back again after that.
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  • Man, Getty Images sounds like quite the vampire.

    This must be a substantial part of their business model now.
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  • Profile picture of the author cyberws
    We received the same kind of threatening letter - twice. Like others have mentioned, we spent a lot of time at ExtortionLetterInfo: Fight Getty Images Settlement Demand Letters » Reporting on Getty Images Settlement Demand Letters. Oscar, the lawyer on the site, recommends contacting them - but we didn't. Everyone we talked to who contacted them said they were horribly rude and aggressive.

    Like you, we only had one image on our site and we were positive they weren't going to sue us. They didn't. They went away.

    "I can't look it up right now, but there is some sort of law that says that a forum/blog owner isn't responsible for what is posted by its users if I recall correctly."

    This is NOT true in the US, although it's so in the EU. Our copyright laws are very out of date and drastically need an overhaul.

    There is a lesson here, though. Although Getty has been threatening, rather than actually suing people, there are companies who actually follow through on lawsuits. We have been FANATICALLY careful about images ever since that happened. Everyone on the Warrior forum would be well advised to do the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
    I don't understand the indignant attitudes in this thread toward Getty. I mean, the photos belong to them. They are entitled to protect their assets just as anyone on this forum is entitled to protect his WSO from piracy. SMH.
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    • Originally Posted by wolfmmiii View Post

      I don't understand the indignant attitudes in this thread toward Getty. I mean, the photos belong to them. They are entitled to protect their assets just as anyone on this forum is entitled to protect his WSO from piracy. SMH.
      Have so say I agree. I am an ex journalist so am a bit more into copyright protection than some others. But if you found all your content, or your ebook, given away as a throwaway on another site, what would you think?

      1. Oh well never mind.
      2. Those f&^%(^rs are stealing my stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
      Originally Posted by wolfmmiii View Post

      I don't understand the indignant attitudes in this thread toward Getty. I mean, the photos belong to them. They are entitled to protect their assets just as anyone on this forum is entitled to protect his WSO from piracy. SMH.
      That is not entirely true. It has been well documented that they do not own the copyrights to many of the images they claim they do. Also, if you read the wording in their TOS, it's terribly confusing.

      Believe me, I hate content/image theft. I have had it done to me several times and it sucks. Especially when people rob your content and then use it to outrank you.

      However, Getty Images is a bunch of bottom feeding bullies who are intentionally trying to ensnare consumers in their web for the sole reason of extorting them.

      I think you'd be hard pressed to find any jury who'd side with these people. That's why I think the chances of them actually filing a lawsuit and taking someone to court are slim to none. I'm not saying they won't, but I firmly believe they rely on fear and intimidation. Anyone who stands up to them most likely will not be pursued. I guarantee that for every 1 person who tells them to shove it, 3 people pay them. That's exactly what they rely on.

      Instead of paying people to go out hunting down unsuspecting website owners who are probably not making $10 a month off their sites, they should have a staff of people dedicated to helping consumers understand and AVOID copyright infringements. Instead they would rather try and extort the little guy and go after unsuspecting website owners who are already struggling to get by.

      Are some people knowingly stealing images from them on a large scale? Absolutely. I have no problem whatsoever with them going after those people and protecting their assets. However, going after the little guy just trying to make an extra buck or two to feed his family is despicable. I sincerely hope the FTC steps in and slams the sh*t out of Getty Images.
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      • Profile picture of the author drem
        Originally Posted by nicheblogger75 View Post

        That is not entirely true. It has been well documented that they do not own the copyrights to many of the images they claim they do. Also, if you read the wording in their TOS, it's terribly confusing.

        Believe me, I hate content/image theft. I have had it done to me several times and it sucks. Especially when people rob your content and then use it to outrank you.

        However, Getty Images is a bunch of bottom feeding bullies who are intentionally trying to ensnare consumers in their web for the sole reason of extorting them.

        I think you'd be hard pressed to find any jury who'd side with these people. That's why I think the chances of them actually filing a lawsuit and taking someone to court are slim to none. I'm not saying they won't, but I firmly believe they rely on fear and intimidation. Anyone who stands up to them most likely will not be pursued. I guarantee that for every 1 person who tells them to shove it, 3 people pay them. That's exactly what they rely on.

        Instead of paying people to go out hunting down unsuspecting website owners who are probably not making $10 a month off their sites, they should have a staff of people dedicated to helping consumers understand and AVOID copyright infringements. Instead they would rather try and extort the little guy and go after unsuspecting website owners who are already struggling to get by.

        Are some people knowingly stealing images from them on a large scale? Absolutely. I have no problem whatsoever with them going after those people and protecting their assets. However, going after the little guy just trying to make an extra buck or two to feed his family is despicable. I sincerely hope the FTC steps in and slams the sh*t out of Getty Images.
        The problem is that they use PicScout to automate the search. They simply locate sites that use their images without licensing them and send out the notice. This means they simply scour the web like a shark in water.

        I am definitely not on their side by any means. In fact, I despise them as a company. They will go after everyone, but they rarely go to court. It is not feasible for them to bring a small site to court and they know that. However, if 1 percent of the extortion letters get paid, they will benefit from it.

        There is a site, Extortion Letter that goes over their shady scam.
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        • Old thread, but interesting that today Getty Images has apparently made their images available for free for non-commercial usage to bloggers.
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      • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
        Originally Posted by nicheblogger75 View Post

        That is not entirely true. It has been well documented that they do not own the copyrights to many of the images they claim they do. Also, if you read the wording in their TOS, it's terribly confusing.
        It IS entirely true (when speaking in the context of images they own). As for understanding the TOS, it's the responsibility of the person using the image to make sure he understands the TOS. It's not Getty's responsibility to educate people.
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    • Profile picture of the author LABEShops
      Originally Posted by wolfmmiii View Post

      I don't understand the indignant attitudes in this thread toward Getty. I mean, the photos belong to them. They are entitled to protect their assets just as anyone on this forum is entitled to protect his WSO from piracy. SMH.
      I have no problem with Getty or anyone else protecting themselves from piracy. I could understand totally if they just sent you a demand to remove the image. It's the threatening action and billing and bullying that is the problem to me. They are using bully tactics on small businesses assuming they will just pay the bill and not be able to afford a lawyer or want to go thru the hassle.

      The other problem is they don't always visibly watermark their images so honestly, how is the business owner supposed to know? I found the one I used (of a plain brown paper wrapped box) on a clip art site. I didn't even realize it was a photo let alone a copyrighted by anyone photo.

      If they had just sent me a polite notice to remove it, no problem. When I got the first letter that is exactly what I did. It was the bill that was attached and the subsequent threatening letters and email that makes me dislike Getty. If the site owner refused and didn't remove the image after the first or perhaps a second warning, then okay, I could see sending a bill. But they don't even give you a chance to remove the image once they tell you it is theirs before they slap you with a bill and threaten legal action.

      Protecting your property is one thing. Going overboard about it is another.
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  • Profile picture of the author feedia
    I had received one of those letters close to 9 months ago. I spoke with them once, as the image was obtained through a website claiming it was free to use (with no limitations), but they said it didn't matter and they wanted $980. I told them I would not, and that they can go ahead and sue me. - They tried calling me once since then, and I told them where to go.

    Have not been sued yet......and I am guessing I will not be, because it would cost them way more in money and time to do it, and they could potentially lose.

    I have been told they send lots of these letters out, and I am sure it works in some cases, and they probably get a good amount of money from people and businesses.

    I would not sweat it unless you have to (ie: if you ever get a legal document from their lawyer, not their threat letter).
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  • Profile picture of the author Brad Gosse
    This is why user generated content can be a messy deal. You might follow the law and buy your stock images legally but your users misuse without thinking.

    Ultimately copyright is copyright.

    Hopefully this clears up for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
    I would tell em shove it! Say you got the image from Facebook.. boom problem solved
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    • Profile picture of the author AlexCN
      Originally Posted by palmer9999 View Post

      Say you got the image from Facebook.. boom problem solved
      ? What does the image being on Facebook have to do with skirting the copyright?

      I'm no lawyer, but if you don't have a lot of money, and your site isn't generating a large monthly income, wouldn't a reasonable judge (If the worst case happened and you go taken to court) award 'reasonable' damages to Getty?

      If Getty's stance is that you are profiting wildly off an image that one of your users posted on your site, tell them to meet you in court.

      Explain to the Judge that it was user generated content that wound up on your site, and you hadn't even noticed it. Explain to the judge that Getty is being unreasonable in it's demands and you took the offending image down as soon as it was brought to your attention.

      After that, go on to tell the judge that your site is relatively small, gets 5000 or so visitors per month, and you are barely making enough to cover the monthly hosting costs of $20 per month.

      Let him know your net income is going to be about $100 this year, and you have approximately 1000 other images on your site, aside from the one that was up for less than a week that Getty claimed you were profiting from.

      See what he says.

      Alex

      P.S. Just thought about this, but if you went this route, worst case, you are
      out 'damages' which according to Getting is $700-$1200 or so.

      After you paid though, you could become a local (and perhaps national?) celebrity
      once you posted the story on your blog about your experience in court with Getty.
      Guaranteed a story like that would be picked up by the media, especially if you were
      to be able to frame it properly.

      NOW you start getting REAL traffic to your blog..
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    Read this article that was posted yesterday..
    The world's largest photo service just made its pictures free to use

    Getty Images is betting their business on embeddable photos
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    • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
      Originally Posted by st0nec0ld View Post

      Read this article that was posted yesterday..
      The world's largest photo service just made its pictures free to use

      Getty Images is betting their business on embeddable photos
      I don't care what they say I will NEVER use any of their images, free, licensed, or otherwise. As a matter of fact, they can take their free embeds and stick them where the sun don't shine as far as I'm concerned! They are just too shady. I create and watermark all of my own images for all of my blogs and websites. That way I never have to worry about any of this copyright drama. I KNOW I own all of the images on my sites. It's a little more work but it's worth having the peace of mind of knowing that I will never receive one of these BS Getty letters.
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      • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
        Originally Posted by nicheblogger75 View Post

        They are just too shady. I create and watermark all of my own images for all of my blogs and websites. That way I never have to worry about any of this copyright drama.
        You DO realize that an image does not need to be watermarked to be copyrighted, right? I mean, the minute ANYONE (Getty included) publishes an image, he/she owns the copyright. What that means is that unless there is a license granted with the picture, you can't use it. Seems pretty simple to me and really not "shady" at all.

        If you want NO DRAMA, don't use other people's images without their permission - plain and simple.

        Why do IMers make things so difficult??
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        • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
          Originally Posted by wolfmmiii View Post

          You DO realize that an image does not need to be watermarked to be copyrighted, right? I mean, the minute ANYONE (Getty included) publishes an image, he/she owns the copyright. What that means is that unless there is a license granted with the picture, you can't use it. Seems pretty simple to me and really not "shady" at all.

          If you want NO DRAMA, don't use other people's images without their permission - plain and simple.

          Why do IMers make things so difficult??
          I never said anything about an image having to be watermarked to be copyrighted. I simply said I watermark all of my own images. I don't ever have to worry about drama because I create and use all of my own images. I never use an image on any of my sites that wasn't taken by me or created by me. That doesn't make it difficult. I never have to worry about copyright violations because I use all of my own images. Very simple.
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        • Profile picture of the author Meharis
          Originally Posted by wolfmmiii View Post

          If you want NO DRAMA, don't use other people's images without their permission - plain and simple.
          I suggest you read it again. He's not using other people's images without permission.
          Here's what he said:

          I create and watermark all of my own images for all of my blogs and websites. That way I never have to worry about any of this copyright drama.

          Meharis
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  • Profile picture of the author themikerogers
    You should probably add something to your Terms & Conditions that states something to the effect that "blog owner is not responsible for content or images posted in comments..."
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    • Profile picture of the author cbpayne
      Originally Posted by themikerogers View Post

      You should probably add something to your Terms & Conditions that states something to the effect that "blog owner is not responsible for content or images posted in comments..."
      Unfortunately you are the "publisher", so you are responsible.
      Having that disclaimer does not absolve you of responsibility.
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      • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
        Originally Posted by cbpayne View Post

        Unfortunately you are the "publisher", so you are responsible.
        Having that disclaimer does not absolve you of responsibility.
        Sorry, but you're 100%, absolutely, unequivocally wrong.

        There is a big legal reason sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and millions of others aren't sued for the copyrighted images illegally shared through their sites.

        That reason is two-fold: The Communications Decency Act:
        Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        and more importantly, The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act: Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        The cliff's notes version of these acts as it applies here is that a site is not liable for user submissions of copyrighted content UNLESS it can be proven that the site knew the uploaded material was copyrighted and failed to act in accordance with necessary preventative and takedown guidelines.

        The ONLY reason Getty sues people like the OP (and why it sues for such a small amount) is because they know people would rather just settle than pay the enormous court costs associated with fighting this type of suit.

        Getty is basically getting away with legal extortion.
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        • Profile picture of the author cbpayne
          Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post

          Sorry, but you're 100%, absolutely, unequivocally wrong..
          So why did I end up in court as the 'publisher'? Did my legal team and the court get it wrong?
          Where did you get your legal qualification from?
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          • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
            Originally Posted by cbpayne View Post

            So why did I end up in court as the 'publisher'? Did my legal team and the court get it wrong?
            I don't know anything about any court cases you were involved in, so it's very possible -- perhaps you'd like to share more details.

            I do however, know a fair deal about the circumstances of the OP's case with Getty, which is why I named and linked the exact and specific applicable pieces of legislation that any competent attorney would use (and thousands have used) to successfully defend cases like his.

            The law is explicitly clear: he's not liable for the copyrighted content users submit provided the plaintiffs aren't able to prove he knew copyrighted content was going to be uploaded OR he didn't act in a timely manner in removing it when given the proper notice.

            Read the Acts... it's all there.

            Originally Posted by cbpayne View Post

            Where did you get your legal qualification from?
            The presupposition being that one needs to be a lawyer to be educated on the law? What a sad, sad thought.

            Again, you're 100% wrong and I explained why in my post above. Do you care to refute any specific points or just continue with your "I got sued so I know better than everyone" diatribe?
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  • Profile picture of the author LABEShops
    I got one of these letters too about a year ago. I removed the image (which I got from a clip art site and did not have a visible getty images watermark) and told them I had done so. I still periodically get demand letters or emails from them and have ignored them. I think they initially billed me for around $850. Last demand letter I got maybe 6 months ago, they offered to settle for $400. I ignored it and haven't gotten one since.

    I got one from them many years ago too - maybe 10 or so? Again I took the image down, told them I did and ignored every other communication from them. Nothing ever came of it either.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickCopy
    Getty is scrambling to to find a profitable business strategy. I have a feeling this new announcement from them is the beginning of the end for them. If they were smart they'd spend their time acquiring more images, networking with people like us and just selling accounts to people to access all their images for cheap.

    seriously, if a huge image depository came on here and offered a warrior discount to access and use good quality, abundant images for a fixed, cheap monthly fee people would be jumping on it in droves.

    just another example of how free markets should dictate business strategy, not the other way around.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
    I've been through this before.

    They are all talk, no action. Unless you are a big fish displaying a lot of their images without permission, they will continue to hound you until they don't.

    You don't need an attorney for this. Simply respond to their demand saying that the alleged offending image is not on your website (make sure that is true), and you wish them well.

    They will send you many more demands, but they will not sue you. Furthermore, these demands do not meet the legal definition of a debt, so any debt collector making threats will be acting illegally.

    Let them huff and puff, and eventually they'll lose interest in you and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author TerriL
    Outside of NOT intentionally using copyrighted images on our websites, is it possible to maybe write a 'disclaimer' of sort declaring - every effort has been made to keep the content on this website free from Copyright infringement laws, in the event an image or article found (herein - fancy lawyer speak, lol) is deemed to be copyright protected, the admin (your name) will immediately remove such items, but refuses to be held accountable outside of a 'cease and desist' removal notice?

    Naturally, as you can see I am not a lawyer, but I would like to add something like this on my sites, if it could serve as a legal buffer?

    Not as a way to just rum out stealing Google images or even Getty's (over-priced) images, but rather in defense of those who try to be honest, as the original poster seems sincere in his concerns.

    So, can we as websites owners add a little bit to our FTC compliant pages that would protect us in the event a 3rd party or accidental use of copyright takes place?
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Did you read this? They're giving up on the demand letter business model

    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ed-photos.html
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  • Profile picture of the author GaryCarlyle
    Delete it. Then how can they prove it was even really there? This sounds like some kind of extortion racket from the 50's.

    You should also ask them under what law would you be liable as a flesh and blood human being and not a corporation.

    If they point to any statutes then they only apply to a PERSON which is a corporation in legalese and not a human.

    Although the courts are basically corrupt and will likely not accept that despite it being true.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by GaryCarlyle View Post

      Delete it. Then how can they prove it was even really there? This sounds like some kind of extortion racket from the 50's.

      You should also ask them under what law would you be liable as a flesh and blood human being and not a corporation.

      If they point to any statutes then they only apply to a PERSON which is a corporation in legalese and not a human.

      Although the courts are basically corrupt and will likely not accept that despite it being true.
      Although Getty doesn't actually go to court on these demand letters, there are companies that do and your completely erroneous and irresponsible response could get people in trouble if they actually believed you. Why don't you do some research before offering your lousy and completely wrong legal advice?
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  • Profile picture of the author Danny Cutts
    if you get hit by a getty letter then contact these people Copyright Infringement - Getty Extortion Letter - Getty Images demands - the law and image protection copyright

    They have got me out of hot water and are great legal team and they are not expensive at all :-)

    Danny

    PS I have nothing to do with the company just a company I use :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author GuruGazette
    FYI, Getty is an authorized agent for its photographers and is bound by contract to pursue unauthorized use. And from the U.S. copyright office:

    Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights.
    (emphasis added)

    Source: U.S. Copyright Office - Can I Use Someone Else's Work? Can Someone Else Use Mine? (FAQ)
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  • Profile picture of the author wilder1047
    I don't know if this is mentioned, but, those that are defending Getty Images are missing one thing.

    Even if it's not NECESSARY for them to watermark their images to own the copyright.. if they really don't want you using their images illegally, they should watermark the hell out of them.

    A "hidden watermark" that they seek out with bots (if this is true), means that they've actually worked in "revenue from law suits" into the business model.

    By all means, they have the right to protect their property, but make it known ahead of time!
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
      Originally Posted by wilder1047 View Post

      A "hidden watermark" that they seek out with bots (if this is true), means that they've actually worked in "revenue from law suits" into the business model.
      This was very clearly their model, and they pursued it with gusto. Though, it wasn't the actual lawsuits as much as the threats and intimidation.

      Originally Posted by wilder1047 View Post

      By all means, they have the right to protect their property, but make it known ahead of time!
      This would have been counterproductive to the above model. The scope of their bullying apparent just by listening to victims who were willing to speak out about it, I think they must have made millions from it.
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      • Profile picture of the author wilder1047
        Originally Posted by Jack Gordon View Post

        This was very clearly their model, and they pursued it with gusto. Though, it wasn't the actual lawsuits as much as the threats and intimidation.



        This would have been counterproductive to the above model. The scope of their bullying apparent just by listening to victims who were willing to speak out about it, I think they must have made millions from it.

        Haha yeah, that's what I'm saying though.

        It was a message to the people defending Getty Images, likening their practice to one who would be upset if there WSO was given away for free on a 3rd party site.

        When it's nothing like that at all, Getty Images business model is to come after people who have UNKNOWINGLY used their images.

        And while it's in their right to do so. It doesn't make it ethical, which means they aren't a company that should be defended as some people feel the need to do so on here.
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  • Profile picture of the author coinrollhunter
    That really stinks. I hate copy right issues, just ignore them
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Willy
    Just don't reply to them for settlement. They are just extorting money from you. I've been there before, getting two letters from them. One is that I need to pay more than $1,500, and the other one is just a follow up, and that was around 2-3 years ago, and never heard from them because I didn't reply. Just don't panic, leave it.
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  • Profile picture of the author mrgoe
    I`ve been in content removal business for a while and I know for a fact that DMCA clearly states that as long as someone after the request removes the content, they can no longer be taken into a lawsuit. Remove the image and move on with your life.
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  • Profile picture of the author barbling
    Getty Copyright Infringement Settlement Demand Scam

    has some rather interesting takes on this, including:

    "The website **** offers a lengthy article alleging that Getty Images sets up people as prey by allowing some sites to use their images without a license in hopes others will copy them. Getty also goes after the folks who use out-of-the-box templates with unlicensed images instead of going after the template creators themselves.

    The scam is simple: by carefully targeting who to go after Getty Images and other image resellers can be assured of an ongoing source of income -- unwary copyright infringers.

    The scam is self-perpetuating due to affiliate programs selling templates that violate copyright laws and even through websites that sell images that they do not have the right to sell. These sites are not targeted or shut down -- only the people who use them thinking they are getting a licensed product...."
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