WARNING: Getty Images Cracking Down!
Just a warning to everyone that may be using or has used unauthorized images from Getty. They are making a big sweep of sites and sending out bills when they find one of their images being used without permission. They are charging $1,000 USD per image. They are pursuing the site owners for this money. They are not sending out warnings. They do expect to get paid. If you have unauthorized Getty images, take them down.
A fellow designer just had 2 of his clients busted. One for $2,000 and the other for $4,000. The client wants the designer to pay since they weren't aware of him grabbing the images from Getty. Getty's stance is that it's the clients fault. Either way, not good business.
Getty Images "Copyright Allegations"
I was recently hit with a letter writing campaign from Getty Images claiming that I had used one of their copyrighted images. I had not actually used their image, but rather the photographer had put his work up on several sites - one of which was www.SXC.hu. I obtained his image from SXC, but because Getty also had the image - they believe I obtained it from them.
Messy stuff. So now I'm trying to fight of what amounts to extortion from Getty Images. I have since gone back to SXC and printed all of the license agreements of all images I use from their site in case this should ever happen again. I doubt the photographer whose work is in question is even aware of what's going on. It's an interesting business strategy, but not one that will win over any fans for Getty, who I will now never even consider using in the future.
royalty free images included?
Sorry if this would sound stupid, but i have to ask, do they also go after those who got images from their royalty-free collection? I did save and use some for my client's website, though altering it a bit (cropping, adding overlay text etc). So will that cause me or my client trouble?
I received similar letter from Getty
My situation is a bit more unique and complex however. I run a company that is essentially set up as a reseller. We have signed contracts with various vendors giving us authorization to advertise their product and use content from their website on ours. Essentially we are an independent representative (or an 'extension of', if you will) of the companies we represent.
The letter I received from Getty stated they had discovered the use of these images on my site (2 different images from 2 different vendors). They accompanied this notice with an invoice of $1,000 per image but had a caveat of a discount if I paid right away (which made the total $1840.25).
Keep in mind that I have signed contracts with these vendors giving me permission to utilize the content from their respective websites. What I do on my site is basically make a Mirror image of the vendors site and content so that when visitors come to my website they see familiar products and information. All of this is in line with my company acting as a representative to my vendor companies.
My feeling is they are barking up the wrong tree. I will send them copies of my contracts and for all intensive purposes tell them to go stuff themselves.
For a little over $1800 I am not sure any company would be willing to go to court especially when they will have an extremely (likely impossible) time proving intent, malice, or my profiting from these images. It would cost them more than that to just file the paperwork.
Note that I am certainly not advocating copyright infringement because I think violators should be aggressively sought after. What I have problems with is companies like this going after anyone and everyone whether guilty or not without even taking breath to consider the circumstances. They likely get paid very well from their threatening letters/invoices. I spent the better part of a day searching Seattle records and found not one small case such as mine ever being heard in a court of law. There is just no money in it I guess.
Anyone’s opinions or alternate advice as to how to better handle this would be most welcome. I would really like to hear if someone has a similar situation to mine.