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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot spinball's Avatar
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    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.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot kosh's Avatar
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    With sites like sxc.hu and a dozen others, I don't understand the need for copyright infringement. You can get images without paying for them, and you can do it legally!

    Oh well, it's probably good that Getty does this. As they do it, they will push their potential clients away, and send them all to lower cost alternatives.

    -Tony
    Outshine - geek blog & free phpBB mods
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot dougadam's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by kosh View Post
    With sites like sxc.hu and a dozen others, I don't understand the need for copyright infringement. You can get images without paying for them, and you can do it legally!

    Oh well, it's probably good that Getty does this. As they do it, they will push their potential clients away, and send them all to lower cost alternatives.

    -Tony
    Thanks Tony

  4. #4
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    infringed666

    Just out of curiousity, I have been following this thread from day 1 - kind of like a soap opera! From that perspective, it appears that infringed666 jumps in whenever an effective method is discussed, as a distraction. In this case, it was the limepoint connection.

    Just an observation - look closely at what is being discussed just before her posts! I believe before that screen name, there was another poster doing the same thing.
    Don't let the dogs out!

  5. #5
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    Briardlady, I agree with what you've said about Infringed666, they really seem to want to put people off and force them into despair, just like Getty do.

    There have been others on this forum too, most likely Getty.

    There is no need for anyone here to despair as for the most part Getty are really trying to push their luck. Unfortunately some people have been taken in and been scared by the Getty threatening letters and have paid; because of this Getty still pursue people although it seems to be more pester or rather, harass, than pursue.

    If the other poster you are referring to is me, I'm not sure what I've said that makes you think that. I have a big fat demand from Getty sat in my drawer, so believe me I'm in the same boat as most people here and I would like to know more about how other people are dealing with the situation in the UK and US.

    Explaining on this forum how people have got Getty off their backs is very useful for all of us. It isn't useful for Getty because they won't be able to use the information to change tactics; after-all if one person gets rid of Getty then Getty already have that information regardless of this forum.
    Getty know how we can get rid of them; now we all need to know.

    If Getty have any idea what's good for them they should stop pursuing small businesses/hobbyists as for every $1 they squeeze out of a poor small business they loose $10 in bad publicity and bad feeling.
    They should go after the companies that are selling Getty images and at the same time make their images harder to take from their web site and use without a license (like most other image libraries do, a decent watermark would do for a start). It seems to me that their biggest problem is people selling on and people re-using without license.
    They need a different approach other than harassing small-business, harassing their customers/potential customers.

    Getty must be losing customers hand-over-fist at this rate.

    Come-on lets get Getty off our backs and force them into protecting their interests without harassing us.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    I'm curious as to what type of professionals would pay that sort of money for stock photo at Getty?


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SG1
    I'm curious as to what type of professionals would pay that sort of money for stock photo at Getty?
    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.

    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!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dawn8
    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.
    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.

  9. #9
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    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?

  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot kosh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webtwinsmom
    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.

    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!

    -Tony
    Outshine - geek blog & free phpBB mods
    Publisher Database - tools & forums for writers
    What Do Women Want? - dating advice for men, from women

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict Sgt. Baboon's Avatar
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    They don't cost that much. Sounds like they are only charging that much to the ones they bust. But I wonder how exactly they are "scanning" the Internet for the images? Doesn't seem like a feasable task to me.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    Actually, I've heard the same as well about the scanning. Can anyone clarify how this track this stuff?


  13. #13
    SEO/SEM Unkn0wnPlayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Baboon View Post
    They don't cost that much. Sounds like they are only charging that much to the ones they bust. But I wonder how exactly they are "scanning" the Internet for the images? Doesn't seem like a feasable task to me.
    This is my line of thought as well.

  14. #14
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    Sorry to bring this thread up - just to answer your question - Getty signed an agreement with a company in Isreal called Picscout, this happened to me last year.

    First I noticed a bot going through the site using loads of bandwidth and then several months later I got an invoice from Getty for something like $2K for just one image. They wrongly accused me because it was a user signature not hosted on my website and apparently deleted months prior. So I thankfully escaped.
    Last edited by ticksoft; Oct 14, 2006 at 20:25.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Zealot greeneye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ticksoft
    Since then I have placed a block on my site for this spider that displays a message saying something to the affect... if they wish to get around the block then they should prepay for any commercial bandwidth usage and if they attempt to get around the block without paying then they will be reported for hacking.
    I have to ask, how did you do that?
    Hello

  16. #16
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    Do you, by any chance, remember the UA string of that bot?

  17. #17
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    Just check the user agent via PHP for example, all I remember is it had "picscout" in it... like I say, they hit your website out-of-the-blue, then you forget about it (so I don't have the user-agent any more) then months later you are rewarded with a fine if an image somehow makes it onto your website.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ticksoft
    Just check the user agent via PHP for example, all I remember is it had "picscout" in it... like I say, they hit your website out-of-the-blue, then you forget about it (so I don't have the user-agent any more) then months later you are rewarded with a fine if an image somehow makes it onto your website.
    What does that mean "if an image somehow makes it onto your website"?

    If it's your website then how does an image "somehow make it there" unless you put it there or authorize someone to upload it there? (assuming someone doesn't just hack in, or something).

    Speaking as a photographer, I think it's GREAT that Getty is enforcing their copyright. Legally, web-publishing is still publishing and all the laws regarding copyright, model- and property-releases, etc, still apply. No one should be using an image on their website that they are not 100% sure is legally theirs to use.

    I don't understand why a bot should consume anymore bandwidth than it takes to copy the picture(s) to their own server to analyze it.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Zealot kosh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plnelson
    What does that mean "if an image somehow makes it onto your website"?
    I think he was pretty clear. At least, I understood him. He had areas on his site where people can add sigs or avatars (or something like that) and that area -- like SitePoint and every other forum -- does not require approval by the owner. Some forums allow attachments to posts, and those attachments are not "blocked until manually approved" either. I don't think he's unreasonable or irresponsible for having his site work exactly the same as everyone else's.

    Quote Originally Posted by plnelson
    No one should be using an image on their website that they are not 100% sure is legally theirs to use.
    The laws don't quite agree with you. Yes, copyright is a valid law and should be enforced. But even DMCA doesn't get that hard-line about it. The DMCA acknowledges that certain content providers may have more data coming in than can be manually verified. So it provides a "takedown notice" system, where the copyright holder has to inform the admin and give him 10 days to work it out with the person who posted the material. If the material comes down, I believe the DMCA says you're protected from harm. If Getty isn't following the procedure outline by law, I'm not sure anyone is obligated to pay their extortion money.

    Quote Originally Posted by plnelson
    I don't understand why a bot should consume anymore bandwidth than it takes to copy the picture(s) to their own server to analyze it.
    Most normal humans view a large, photo-heavy site in small chunks. I've never viewed every image hosted by sxc.hu, for example. A bot will suck down the entire site in one session, which can be a shocking burden.

    -Tony
    Outshine - geek blog & free phpBB mods
    Publisher Database - tools & forums for writers
    What Do Women Want? - dating advice for men, from women

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by plnelson
    Speaking as a photographer, I think it's GREAT that Getty is enforcing their copyright.
    Protecting your copyright certainly isn't a bad thing. And as a webmaster whose images are regularly copied, I can even understand why someone would want to go to such extremes as Getty. But this kind of exhaustive search for stolen images comes with a price tag -- and it's not Getty who pays the price, but lots of website owners who have to pay for the extra bandwidth usage without any benefit to them.


    I don't understand why a bot should consume anymore bandwidth than it takes to copy the picture(s) to their own server to analyze it.
    It consumes exactly the bandwidth it takes to copy the pictures to their own server. No more, no less. But if you have a website with large photo galleries with, say, hundreds or thousands of photos, then we are talking about a lot of bandwidth, especially if the bot comes by regularly and not just once.

    Another problem is that bots tend to download large amounts of data within a very short time (whereas humans download one image, view it, download another, view it, ...), which may well choke the entire server for a while.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by plnelson
    If it's your website then how does an image "somehow make it there" unless you put it there or authorize someone to upload it there? (assuming someone doesn't just hack in, or something).
    It's never that simple. We run a website that has GBs of images provided by PR companies to promote their products. Everything should be 100% licensed by them through the appropriate groups, but there's always a remote chance that we'll get fined $2K for one random image...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ticksoft
    It's never that simple. We run a website that has GBs of images provided by PR companies to promote their products. Everything should be 100% licensed by them through the appropriate groups, but there's always a remote chance that we'll get fined $2K for one random image...
    They're actually uploaded to you server, and not linked? If they are then don't they have to sign a contract with you and can't you stipulate in the contract that they are responsible for any financial or legal harm you suffer if they give you an image they don't have copyright to?

    Someone else here mentioned that it's common practice for websites to allow third-parties to upload images to their sites but I think that's the exception, not the rule.
    I'm a photographer with about 250 images on my own site (but they're all mine) and I'm very active on lots of photography discussion forums and all but one (photo.net)that I use simply have participants LINK to their images, so the actual image is served from the participat's server, not the forum host. That way they avoid both the legal issues and bandwidth problems.

  23. #23
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    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.

  24. #24
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    Thanks, ticksoft, "picscout" should be enough to identify it... I don't remember seeing it in my logs, though, maybe my sites have been spared so far. Not that I'm using any Getty images, I'm just not too fond of rogue bots eating up lots of bandwidth...

  25. #25
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    As webmaster of a village website in the UK the owner of our space has just received a demand for £1,500! Scary stuff and we thought at first it was a scam. Have had calls to the US and an email is in preparation. We cannot afford to pay. The offending image was not known to originate from Getty's stock and looked more like clipart of very average quality! Advice has ranged from ignore it or face the demand head on. What does anyone here think? The image is charged at £205 pounds on the Getty site but, as I say, their threatening letter asks for £1,500. During my phone call their legal office acknowledged that our site was an amateur, non-business one and 'generously' began to offer 75% off. Umm, just £350 then!


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