I understand its not a scam in that context .. extortion maybe but not fraudulent.Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamed
I understand its not a scam in that context .. extortion maybe but not fraudulent.Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamed
I received an email from templatemonster's legal dept. person. He says I do not have to pay the invoice if the photo has been removed and not used anymore. He contacted the author of the template. I feel relieved and thankful that I still have the order details after 3 years, and that I found this forum. Thanks you guys.
I also understand why Getty is cracking down, but it ticks me off how big companies like this take advantage of poor (literally) unsuspecting people. They'll get their just reward some day.
I've received 3 letters now, all the same. I removed the images in question and sent them back a response but they just keep sending the letters.
I understand they want to enforce their copyright on the images (and I agree they should) but I would think they are doing themselves more harm than good from a business standpoint. Just let the owner remove the images upon notice of the copyright. I don't really see how it would hold up in court.
Just curious - how would they scan an image? Is that even techincally feasible? I mean technology that compares image to image I can imagine (like whatthefont etc.) but for it to scan and compare with thousands upon thousands of images is hard for me to fathom. And if a webmaster has cropped, edited and manipulated that picture how would the bot know?
Windmills, that technology is actually fairly common. You can even get the source code for it from some Open Source apps. I believe GQview is available on Sourceforge. It will scan thousands of images, comparing them to each other, and tell you which ones are similar, even if they've been resized. People use it to remove duplicate images from their collections.
There is another application -- I can't remember the name -- which allows you to draw a rough representation of what the image looks like, and then it will scan all your images and tell you which ones are the best match. People use it to find photos in collections that are too large or disorganized.
Both such technologies can be used on the Web on a larger scale. It would simply require more servers. Since the code is Open Source, it could be adapted & optimized for copyright infringement scans. More likely the people involved have created their own similar technology. For the sake of speed, I suspect they are not keeping all the images on massive disk arrays. I suspect they're simply using a checksum on the files (basically, turn the data of a given file into a unique number). Something like the Linux "cksum." Then they just compare numbers. When they get a match, the app probably pops up the original & the copy, allowing an admin to visually confirm. They probably have a few people in India or some other cheap-to-outsource country doing it full-time.
The methods that Getty uses to distribute their images are wrong. They rely on threat and intimidation to collect on debts that the consumer does not even acknowledge. It is blatant harassment, wherein Getty’s agents do not even respond to correspondence from the consumer.
Did you agree to use the images from Getty? Rather than make an effort to protect their images and keep them from being copied illegally, they are attempting to collect on them with methods that everyone agrees is HIGHWAY ROBBERY. We need to band together and get them to change the way they do business.
This has the stuff for a class action like Blockbuster's business tactics. I am really curious as to how many unsuspecting people are falling victim to Getty's marketing tactics and business practices. As a photographer, author, and software publisher, I agree that pirates disserve to be punished; but, I do not agree that the people that Getty picked out are real pirates. Furthermore, I doubt Getty can prove that they have the exclusive rights to all their images. They are not making an example of the pirates to deter piracy. They are encouraging piracy, so they can go after the easy pickings.
Around the world, community laws exist that require everyone to fence your pool, because it is an enticing and hazardous object with potentially life threatening consequences. I do not see how the situation with Getty is any different. The amounts that Getty is charging for use of unlicensed material would kill many a small business, the life blood of the USA. From what I gathered, Getty is betting that they can pick the honest consumers off one-by-one. In fact they designed their site to work this way. They are using predatory methods just like a lion on the savannah to prey on the herd’s juveniles. In this case, it is the stuff created by juvenile webmasters.
Furthermore, if you entice someone to commit a crime, it is not a crime. It is called entrapment. From what I have observed by studying Getty's site and their agreements, Getty's methods are designed to entrap and entice the unsuspecting with pictures that contain their logo and terms like Royalty Free; and, account activation procedures that do not properly verify the consumer and the site owner.
Our site was underdevelopment on a separate URL and the contractor turned out to be an idiot. He was telling us that the Royalty Free images were free. I was investigating, trying to determine what the deal was, struggling to identify the images, when Getty found our construction site and sent us this threatening letter, wherein we immediately removed their images. When questioned later, the contractor tells us that he was using the pictures as place holders. As it turn out, anyone with a URL and an email address can get an account at Getty Images. Once in, the user has free access to all the full size images, which may not contain watermarks; and, they can take them anywhere. It is a virtual hackers paradise.
Let us not forget that this is Getty’s problem. It is not your problem or mine. Getty simply makes no attempt to protect their stuff in any other way then by trying to collect on it. I doubt that they make a very good effort to scan the net for their stuff. Considering the volume and other technical impediments, it is not entirely practical. However, if Getty made an effort to limit access and track the downloading of images, they may have the problem licked; but, then again they would also miss this opportunity to overcharge us. Essentially, it appears that they are depending upon the good natured adults of this predominantly Christian nation to comply with their demands, knowing good and well that unaltered images are finding their way into our market without approval through the undercurrents, and into other markets freely like China where copyright infringement is rampant.
This is not the case with other services like IStockPhoto, where they track the usage. At IStockPhoto they want a credit card for verification purposes to setup an account. At IStockPhoto, whom Getty purchased right after we replied to Getty’s collection letter, they require a deposit before you get access to usable images. At IStockPhoto they then charge you for every image you download; and, IStockPhoto and others are far less expensive than Getty for images for your web site.
Face it Images. The Internet tends to lend itself to piracy, and some acts of piracy on this superhighway are overlooked purposefully. In Getty's case, they temporarily overlook it so they can mark up their overpriced items 10 fold. Why don’t you go after Myspace and YouTube? There are plenty of your images on these sites. Many of these images are reprints of photos taken from news clippings and the video clips you will find are from network broadcasts. Virtually all of this goes unnoticed to the benefit of the host’s advertisers.
Use of copyright material is permissible under “Fair Use” in an education setting; and, it appears that educators may be purposefully directing aspiring webmaster’s to Getty’s site without making them aware of the consequences. In this setting where authors typically give material away freely when credit is given back to the author, the act does more to promote the originator.
Sure the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, referenced in the Wikepideia article provided by Kosh does provide protection, if you "did not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity." Note the emphasis on the words direct and control. In other words, if you were reselling these images online like in a template that contained these images you could be in big trouble. There are criminal fines and prison terms associated with copyright infringement, when it involves unauthorized redistribution; but, the authorities rarely pursue individual cases that involve less than $10K in losses.
Keep in mind that Getty is playing on your fear, and your ignorance of the law to blackmail you into paying quickly. They want everyone to think that you are the villian with the money, that the webmasters are fly-by-night operations, and they (Getty) are the poor little victim. When you feel weak, just remember that J. Paul Getty bought most of the newspapers 100 years ago to crush the stories they were printing about him, rather than deal with the problem. It was his brand of yellow journalism that brought us here. If it were not for the abuse of people like Getty and Rockfeller, we would not have child labor laws on the books today, and even more so why we have an Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act.
Look into the heart of general Copyright Law and you will to will know without a doubt that Getty is barking up the wrong tree. They are creating a problem, where none should exist and attempting to profit from the confusion they are generating. With all their resources they could easily curb the problem with restricted access. Instead they act like PUSHERS who are using children to get unsuspecting people hooked on their drug. They then attempt to push the problem down the chain by making the site owner responsible, when it is the author, the webmaster, who has knowledge of the infringement and committed the act of plagiarism (piracy), and received the real financial benefit. Getty's collection policy is a kin to making the owner or the inventor of the printing press responsible for infringement. Even though you derived some benefit, unless you (the site owner) had prior knowledge, you are not the person responsible for committing the act of infringement.
Blame the author, unless you have direct knowledge, and authorized its use. Above all be a credible witness. Unless the webmaster is your employee, they own the rights and/or the blame for the work. Typical web site design contracts contain clauses obligating the webmaster to provide all the material free of encumbrances, and deed it or license it to the customer. In turn webmasters are usually held harmless for material they inherit from the client, site owner.
Companies like IStock recognize this fact that the author is in control and should know better. The webmaster (author) is the one driving the bus. You are just a passenger. FYI, the license agreements for accounts at IStockPhoto allows the webmaster to put material on a customer’s web site with limitations. The image cannot look like a product endorsement; it cannot be used with a logo, or redistributed as part of another product (like a template). Maybe Getty can learn a thing or two from IStockPhoto.
Many services offer FREE images as an enticement to start using their service. In Georgia, our state, there are very specific limits to using the word FREE. Getty appears to be contributing to the confusion in the market place by freely distributing their images. This in order to sell goods that otherwise would not sell because they have priced themselves out of the small and midsized business market, which they have targeted. They should stick with the media giants and large advertisers, where it appears they get most of their business.
If you are doing business with Getty Images, STOP; and, think seriously about the relationship Getty has with IStockPhoto. Getty's stuff is not that good. It is definitely not worth the price, the risk or the sacrifice. If you agree to Getty's terms, the relationship becomes a dictatorship wherein they make the rules, choose the venue (the courts and laws that govern) and set the amount of restitution.
You can protect your pictures and images with a watermark. It is a way to write information into the pixels to trace its origin. The technique has been used by media giants for decades to put subliminal messages into advertising.
The ability to view and add copyright information is built into many leading imaging products like Adobe Photoshop. If a watermark is detected when you open an image in Photoshop, it displays a copyright symbol in the image window's title bar and includes the information in the Copyright Status, Copyright Notice, and Owner URL sections of the File Info dialog box.
Digimarc is one of the leading suppliers of the technology to secure images.
Decent advertising agencies have no problem with paying the prices that Getty charge. If a client needs a specific image and the only place to get them is a Stock library such as Getty, then they have to pay for it - simple as that.Quote:
Originally Posted by SG1
Yes, istock, etc do have some very good images, and I do use them quite a bit, but sometimes the images just aren't professional enough for our needs - at the end of the day you get what you pay for.
I personally don't know why you're all fussing, read up on copyright before you go ahead and hijack images from anyone and then you'll have nothing to worry about.
Maybe if everybody did pay the proper fees, then the prices may come down.
Incidentally, how do you all feel about pirate copies of programs such as Photoshop etc and the price reflecting the fact that there are unscrupulous people out there who buy them - ITS THE SAME THING!
You seem to have missed the point, as far as from my point of view. Getty is charging people who have no knowledge that the image has been hijacked. In a way, I can understand why they do this because they would have no way of knowing how the image got on the website. So rather than giving a person a chance to prove he is not guilty, they assume the end user is always guilty. I'd hate to have any of them be on jury duty.Quote:
Originally Posted by dawn8
I think you'll see most of the people in this thread are not the ones truly hijacking images, though. I received a letter a couple weeks ago and have been lurking here since. I was hit for one image in the header of a site I purchased from someone else. The lady I bought it from, paid to have it professionally designed herself. At the time of our transaction (4 years ago), neither of us had any idea to think that I would need proof of that images' legitimate purchase today.
The image WAS legitimately purchased and the original firm is going to try to find the records, but this was so long ago. IRS only requires records for 3 years.
As a small scale business myself, I have spent a lot of MY budget at Getty over the years. It just seems that they would be a little more reasonable than to hit me with this huge invoice and be unwilling to flex or consider the circumstances. My 2 weeks are up and I haven't paid yet... I don't think I am going to. My business is basically just enough to supplement our missionary income and this site that doesn't even make me $1000 over an entire YEAR.
If they would take this on a case-by-case basis... look at the accused... have the purchased images before? do they have tons of images "illegally" or just a rougue few? What about charging a REASONABLE amount for the image with a graduating scale after x number of offenses? But this current method could put a LOT of self-employed folks out of business quick. I'm very tempted to just pull the plug and run - even though i've not got any other images in question that i know of - but trying to think back on every image i have put out there and how to document which company they came from, what date, where's the invoice, was it in a package deal CD, template, etc... that's a huge nightmare to consider.
A question for those out there who've designed multiple sites... would you have a record of the origin of each image you've used?
I have a policy of only using images that are completely free & clear. I don't even use "royalty free" because that still allows for an initial one-time purchase fee. So everything I use is free like GPL free, or free like Creative Commons free.Quote:
Originally Posted by webtwinsmom
I will sometimes make my own artwork from scratch. Takes more time and the quality is not always 100%, but I like having the control.
Of course, somebody could submit a photo to sxc.hu that they didn't really own, and we'd all use it for free, and then we'd all get busted. But that's partly why I'm posting in this thread, even though Getty has never bothered me -- because it bothers me that somebody else can screw over a site admin, and Getty goes after the duped admin instead of the perp. And it doubly bothers me that they don't seem to honor the CDA & DMCA laws as they go around busting everyone else!
Just got the same letter blaming me for use of 9 images... Said they sent me a letter before, though I never received it. The site is so old they are blaming I have no idea where the images came from, but I have never used Getty. Sounds like reasoning with them is futile...any other updates?
Take the images down immediately and replace them with some that you are absolutely sure are from legal sources. Once you've done that you can either ignore the letters or speak to your solicitor/attorney/local source of legal advice/do nothing and see what happens. From the sounds of it, they should be sending out a cease & desist letters before they invoice you for anything.Quote:
Originally Posted by sheetszone
I had the same letter about 2 days ago. Demanding nearly £4000 for 2 photos.
Now I'm a little stressed - well perhaps more than a little.
I'm a housewife, I don't earn any money, my husband doesn't earn a lot and my website was about aromatherapy and how people can use it to help them. I wasn't selling anything or making anymoney.
Now I got much pictures from a 3rd party website, claiming that they were copyright free. Obviously they weren't.
Now I can't afford to pay this, and my pictures were all taken off 3 months after I put them on, as I re-did my website.
Since having the shock letter - which believe you me isn't good when you suffer from anxiety problems already, I went to seek advice.
Now here in the UK, the letter they send makes reference to the Copyright and pantents act of 1988. Which is very interesting. As there is (as there is in the UK), a fair use clause, which says copyrighted material can be used if it is for non-profit, educational or research purposes. Now mine I believe to be both non-profit and educational.
Secondly according to this act, any photos taken after 1988 the copyright belongs to the photographer and not the company.
So I'm just a lowly housewife, with far to much time on my hands. But I will not be standing for this. I understand completely the problem of image piracy etc on the internet and other places. However, I'm sure the correct way to go about this would be to send a letter telling the people that they are using copyrighted images and to stop, after which then taking action if they don't stop.
I've also found that, if the images are used to make a profit, you have to give the profit to the copyright holder, and then any damages, and the damages are about $1500 per photo (or so I read). Now they can only claim damages if your use of the photos has prevented or slowed their sales and caused them loose money.
So on those facts, it's all a bit iffy. Surely it's not up to Getty Images to decide if you've infringed on copyright, but up to a judge in a court? So this is the line of action I will be taking. Although I've not heard of anyone actually being taken to court by Getty over this yet. But be sure to watch out for me on the evening news, as I'll make a big song and dance about it all - after all that's one thing us housewifes are very good at!!!
Best of luck all
Ok after my last rant about this I've been and found this law they are quoting.
Now here's the link to the part I've just read, I'll look and see about other things on there too:
Have a look at number 97.
Now I'm off to write letters of complaint about this to various companies, I'll let you all know how it goes.
Not sure if this covers end users but it does have a safe harbor clause. If material is removed in 10 days then copyright owner has no case.
How many of you paid and how many of you ignored the letters?
I ingored my letter from Getty, but so far only got one letter. Somebody made me my website and used several pics he said were in the public domain, but now Getting is coming after me for one of those pics to the tune of $1000. The guy who made my website lives in another country so going after him ins't an option. I took the pic down right away as well as all the other pics. I can't pay $1000 for something I did not steal.Quote:
Originally Posted by mroberts
I was wondering what has happened to the other people in this post who have received these demand letters from Getty. Much like all others I today got a letter wanting £1400 odd for a small image I had on my website. I got the image back in 2003 as a small part of a website template that was on a magazine disc. (.Net I think) I still have the original image so I checked it and could see no watermark or digital rights information.
I spoke to a legal advice line I have access to as part of the FSB here in the UK. They said they have had other members calling in with the same letters and have advised people to remove the images, write to Getty saying where they got the image from and apologise for using it without knowing it was rights managed etc. The legal advice chap said he hasn't had heard of any further action taken by Getty against FSB members.
So, any further news/action from anybody else in relation to these letters?
The last letter I received from Getty was on 9/12/2006. This email was in response to my email to their first letter. My email said:
"The image in question was included in a template that I purchased on 07/05/2003 from 2CO.COM*WEBTEMPLATES 877-294-0273 OH for $38.00 The image was removed from my website immediately after receiving your first notice. There is no way I can afford to pay $1000 for an image that is really of no use to me anyway."
Their email response was as follows: (I took out the name of my company so people on here don't think I'm advertising.)
"Thank you for your attention to this matter and we apologize for our delay in getting back to you.
Getty Images ("Getty") understands that ... may have purchased a web template from 2Checkout for the use on the ... website. ... may have believed to have purchased the appropriate image licenses related to the purchase of the web template. However, your company's purchase of this web template from 2Checkout does not grant license to use the Getty represented images found on the ... website.
... unlicensed use of Getty represented images constitutes copyright infringement. Getty understands that this misuse may have been accidental, however, these factors do not excuse ... full liability in Getty's claim of your company's copyright infringement of its represented images.
As you can probably understand, Getty Images looks to protect the intellectual property of its represented photographers. These images are available for licensing exclusively through Getty Images. We not only have a duty to appropriately license the use of our photographer's images, but to also protect their overall interests.
Absent any licenses specifically related to the use of these images on your company's website from Getty, the invoice presented represents ... unauthorized use -- or copyright infringement of Getty represented images on your company's website. Getty highly encourages ... to settle the balance of this invoice to avoid further escalation moving forward."
I forwarded this email to templatemonster's legal person and he emailed me back and told me I didn't have to pay the invoice, and that he was trying to contact the author of the template. I do not know if he is/was planning on contacting Getty.
So there is a clueless completely innocent housewife in the middle of a Getty legal(?) person and a templatemonster legal person (both of whom probably don't care much about the housewife). If anyone comes after me, I will join purplepixi on the evening news.
Scare tactic crap.
Unless you willingly pay Getty (don't) it would cost Getty more to take you to court than what they are asking...
This isn't like the RIAA suing "little people" to make a point - you don't have the image on your site - you can prove it - you have a record of your proper correspondence with Getty (perhaps you should never have responded - those of us that try to do the right thing get scr#wed all the time) - any sane Judge would throw the case out in a heartbeat.
If this situation is as you describe it, just disengage and/or tell them to take you to court for it - again it would be absurd for them to do.
They have no case so they will bug off.
Here are some key points to consider
1) Almost anyone who uses a copyrighted image on their website for design purposes without the permission/license of the author is violating US Copyright Law.
2) The legal remedies available to an author is dependant on the following:
a) Did the infringer willfully violate the copyright
b) Does the author have an actual registration number filed with the U.S. Copyright office for the photo in question 3 months prior to the infringement?
c) Did the infringer remove the material in question once notified?
d) What was the actual damage (in our case cost of purchasing the photo through getty).
While there may be other factors to consider these four seem the most important when evaluating your strategy. In my case (and I'm sure for most of us) I can answer no to (a). Related to (b) - I looked up the author's name identified in the picture sent to me on the Getty Website. I then proceeded to the U.S. Copyright Office website where you can search registered copyright's by name. In this case, no registered copyright existed for the photographer and Getty could not provide one either. You will see why this is relavant in a minute. (c) Absolutely. (D) Going to the Getty website and purchasing the same image with the size, use, and duration as it was used for my site is currently $370.00
Ultimately, money is the bottom line. Getty wants me (us) to pay $1000.00 for the copyrighted material. They would have me believe that this is fair and signficantly less than what they are entitled to. This might be true if I had intentionally violated the author's copyright and the picture in question was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office three months prior to the infringement. If this were the case, Getty to take me to court for the greater of actual/statutory damages as well as legal fees. This could get expensive.
In my case the acutal damages to the author is $370.00 as described earlier. The statutory damages for a non-willfull violation starts at $200.00 and goes up at the courts discretion and when you add in both your and Getty's legal fees there is no question that a judge may award the plantiff more than the $1000.00 they are demanding now.
However, this is why the copyright number is important. Should the image in question not have an official copyright filed with the U.S. Copyright Office three months prior to the infringement then the plantiff can only be awarded the actual damages - no legal fees, no statutory damages. See this link for more details: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#cr
Now, while I agree that if you take the image off your site and tell Getty to go pound sand you probably won't hear from them again - should you be looking to settle for the peace of mind, you might want to look into the same type of things.
I too received the same letter from getty demanding $6000. I immediately took the images down and phoned them to tell them I have taken the images off. I did not make the site where the images were. I was told all the images were ok to use by my designer. I was not reselling the images and not making any money from the site. They did not send a C and D order before the invoice came. They didnt seem to care, they just wanted their money. It truly does seem like scare tactics to make people pay. For big businesses, they probably could pay something for the use of the images. For small, one man businesses, its ridiculous to pay the amount they are demanding, if any. I have not responded to the second letter. I have spoken to a few attys who basically say if I want to fight in court it will be far more then the $6k Getty is asking for on both sides. Or I can do nothing, wait and see. They will probably send it to a collection agency. The agency gets their percentage for collecting. If I pay a very small amount monthly, $25, the agency will probably keep 10-20 percent. It would take forever to pay Getty. Lots of options.
You say they have to use it for design purposes. It seems like every top blog out there uses images. I'm not sure if they pay for them or not but I guess a lot of them don't. Drudgereport.com, deadspin.com, etc, do these sites pay for images?Quote:
Originally Posted by investor01
If not are they allowed to use images on their site?
I do see a viable class action lawsuit against Getty here - easy - a big one at that. If they had a good name to besmirch it would be one thing, but theirs is the legacy of Robber Barons.
They are entrapping people. A decent lawyer could easily prove this.
In comparison to Getty's peers, they clearly do the least to protect their product, perhaps even to the point of inviting improper use.
Getty needs some perspective (and a good long look in the mirror):
See if you are popular and conservative like Matt Drudge, they won't bother you but if you have some little site they will turn the screws to you...nice, eh?Quote:
Originally Posted by weldonj