This post is a bit long, but worth a read, especially if you are in the UK.
1. How does one check/find if the photographer has the image copyrighted with the US copyright office ??
2. And yes how do you find out if an image is copy righted if it either is not water marked, or the metadata contained in the jpg doesn't list any copyright or owner details ??
3. Do USA copy right laws apply to the UK ??
The image they claim I took (which I didn't) is portrait in style on their image databank. The one I used is from 2003 as part of a magazine website template (the meta data states that date) is landscape and has a whole big chunk of image/picture that is not on the Getty databank version. Therefore it looks like the photographer has listed it on Gettys site at some point after changing the image. Or Getty have bought up a image bank costing them $$$’s and now using the Israeli firms web bot, is searching websites for those images (it is not there any more, I removed it, as is the correct thing to do) and is trying to recover their money.
My demand letter also says £1350 + IE VAT. Using contacts I have in UK HMC&E I am having the legality of the UK address and IE VAT number looked in.
I sent a recorded delivery letter to Getty & Co yesterday, and again after speaking to a lawyer via the FSB advice line, the advice is to wait and see what happens as they have had lots of members calling in with the same demand letters but have not yet heard of any further action being taken if the image didn’t come from Getty image bank.
The following is applicable to the UK
and are my views and information I have found out:-
I have logged a complaint about these demand letters at the UK Trading Standards, I would suggest more people also log complaints. The Getty London address as stated in the demand letter is under Camden Trading Standards area.
Complaints about their tactics can also be logged at:-
If they are a Ltd Company
Cross Border complaints to governments can be made at:-
For anybody that has received letters from the debt collection agency in the UK, write to the agency with a recorded delivery letter, inform them that the demand is disputed and
“It is an criminal offence under Section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 and Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 to harass of debtors with a view to obtaining payment including the issue of letters which convey a threat or false information with intent to cause distress or anxiety.”
No letter or bill can be enforced unless it has been issued by a legal court. Unless it is a court stamped document or Government/Police issued warrant, it is just some fancy words on a bit of paper from a person.
More infor on the act can be found here:-
The debt collection agency emntioned above, Morton Smith, are members of http://www.csa-uk.com/index.htm
And therefore must follow their code of practice
Which includes the Administration of Justice Act 1970 Section 40. If they don’t, complain to CSA at the website above.
This shows the debt collecting agency you are disputing the debt and know your rights which should make them think twice before harassing you again and going to court.
Don’t get into a war of words with Getty or the debt collecting agency via email, it is all too easy to write an email and click "send" without really thinking it through. Send recorded delivery or special delivery letters that can be tracked by the Post Office.
My civil court judge (i.e. UK Magistrate) friend has advised me that a judge will look at the facts, most of us here have got the images from free sites or templates years ago, not stolen them from Getty. That will be looked at by a judge if it went to court and the Getty case would be thrown out of court if you dispute the debt and could show that you did not take the image from them. You don’t even need to attend, go to a local solicitor and swear a “statuary declaration” stating/showing your case/the details etc.
I would also support a case action for entrapment by Getty.
If Getty and Co wants to continue actions against us, we can do a lot to hold things up and defer action which will only cost Getty & Co more money and time. Don’t pay, we haven’t stolen anything.