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  1. #401
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Whoa whoa whoa, calm down everyone.

    There is a rule of thumb that we all should use, whether off-(or on)-line. If it's not yours, don't use it without permission.

    Now, this obviously does not apply to those who purchased templates from other sites, purchased licenses to use images from other sites that Getty is now saying they own and that you are using "illegally" or anything like that. I'm talking about deliberate illegal usage of images.

    Sally23, please don't think I'm calling you out, because I'm not. You took every conceivable step possible given your knowledge at the time and the resources you had at hand (especially considering how they were given to you by another person). You later found out that Getty "informed you that" they "own" the images (which apparently they do, but who knows, 50 other sites may "own" the images as well). So you also fall into the above "exempt" category as well.

    As for the rest of you, calm down, take a walk (or hike, or even go fishing), and just relax.

    We all know what Getty appears to be doing, so why don't we spend our collective energies on DOING SOMETHING CONSTRUCTVE ABOUT IT rather than engaging in petty in-fighting with each other, ok?

  2. #402
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    Why not invoice Getty as a retort? Decide on an arbitrary commercial rate, make a rough usage estimate and issue them an invoice for bandwidth. Tell them your website is provided for personal use only; tell them you are prepared to retract the invoice provided they can demonstrate that their scan was not for commercial reasons (ie they drop their invoice too).

    I personally think this is a good strategy since they are using a cloak-and-dagger scanning method, making it difficult to detect and block them for wasting your resources. I don't know about others here, but I often have to block and then report people to their ISP for abuse when they waste my site's resources, it should be the same for Getty but they are hiding behind a veil of anonymity.

    Those who have been invoiced here may have done something wrong, but doesn't mean Getty is immune for paying for their abuses too. Anyway, good luck to those involved, it sounds like a right mess.

  3. #403
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    SidraG
    I find your comments that i am a thief deeply upsetting and disturbing. How could i steal anything from them when i did not know they even existed????? Why have i not been arrested by the police if i am a theif????? Why have you waited 3 years?????
    'No court is going to care about what Getty is accused of doing ' even i know that is a lamentable and pathetic statement from someone who neither cares or understands the issues involved.
    Unlike other posts why don't you support your statements with legal references? or is it because you know you are wrong. You are just like Getty -you have absolutely nothing to back up or support the evil lies you spread.

  4. #404
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Sally23, please calm down. If you feel like you're being harrassed, report SidraG to the SitePoint staff by clicking on the triangular exclaimation point icon next to the green (or blue, if offline) dot under his username in the post that you found to be offensive. If the staff determines SidraG to be in the wrong, they'll deal with it so you don't have to .

    Ok?

  5. #405
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    Well, I'm sorry I offended anyone. The point I was trying to make was that Getty feels that their copyrighted images were used without being purchased and that is why they are billing for their use. Copyright law is very specific as to who own the images and what is and is not fair use. I'm a professional photographer and have worked in the photography industry for nearly 20 years so I have a personal stake in the issue from another standpoint. From now on, I'm staying out of the issue.

  6. #406
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    Good!

  7. #407
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    Sally23, as I said earlier, nothing legally will happen to you before it happens to many others in this thread. While I expect you may receive further letters from Getty and maybe even a phone call from a debt collector over the next 3 or 4 months, relax in the knowledge that you won't be getting a court order out of the blue. By all means follow this thread over time but try and get on with your life too and don't let this be a cloud which hangs over you.

    Sal

  8. #408
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverstall View Post
    They claim the location of your business is the deciding factor. When i viewed one of the images on Getty it was £1,200 in the uk but £400 in the US. I queried this with 'sharon' of getty images who said 'so what that image is only $25 in China.'
    Is "the location of your business" in the terms and conditions when purchasing an image? What would Getty do if an 'infriger' decided to buy a license from the Chinese site? How could they reasonably legally pursue that case (if they ever intended pursuing anyway) and then go in front of a judge to defend their massive differences in prices, after an unwitting 'infringer' had retrospectively purchased a license ?

    Sal

  9. #409
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    from now on getty/picscout will be shown a blank page on my website as my hosts are so appalled by the actions of Getty and their so called photographers they have created the following PHP script...

    if(strpos($_SERVER[''HTTP_USER_AGENT''],'picscout') !== FALSE){exit;}

    I'm sure there are other ways to do it with mod rewrite or something however I am told this PHP works for a new site that has copied and published every single getty image and is currently giving them away for free from servers in the far east as punishment for the way Getty/picscout have recently behaved. I’m not sure I fully agree with this, as these guys see themselves as some sort of Robin Hood character however there is little doubt in my mind that G, SidraG and all the other photographers are behaving exactly the same way as the Sherriff of Nottingham.

    As for SidraG I look forward to the day when he/she and all the other so called photographers are bankrupted with the massive legal bill for Getty’s failed actions.

    Thanks to everyone that has helped. I feel a lot better that so many good people are fighting the evil G and their unscrupulous photographers.

  10. #410
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    <[I am told this PHP works for a new site that has copied and published every single getty image and is currently giving them away for free from servers in the far east as punishment for the way Getty/picscout have recently behaved.]>

    So you go on their site and pick up a few images "for free". Guess what Getty will do when they find you using them? These images still have copyright on them.

  11. #411
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    Booler - if a person laid out 60,000 posters in the middle of Trafalger Square with a small bucket around the corner that said please put your &#163;300 in here - and a day later each poster had gone but 60,000 people were on CCTV seen taking a poster each - do you think the courts would seriosuly prosecute all 60,000 people especially after the original owner waited 3 years before doing anything and each one of them had offerred to return the poster.
    The only difference between my analogy and the facts is that we are talking about millions of people and the watch owner is also asking the court for &#163;300 plus another &#163;5000.
    In my opnion Getty have been wholly negligent and reckless in protecting the rights of their photographers and in an attempt to cover up their mistakes they have launched into a campaign of spurious and ill founded claims.
    Why has no-one responded with a counter-offence to the s97 defence?? - because there isn't one!!!
    Photographers should realise that its Getty who has given away their images - not theives who have stolen them.

    Out of interest does anyone who has received 'the letter' find anywhere in that letter the printed company registered office address or company number? (s82 & s83 Companies Act 2006)

  12. #412
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    Out of interest does anyone who has received 'the letter' find anywhere in that letter the printed company registered office address or company number? (s82 & s83 Companies Act 2006)
    Ive checked mine and the answer to both questions is NO.

    The envelope the letter was sent in has the Seattle address.
    The covering letter has a London address with Irish VAT number.

    At no point is a 'registered office' address given or a company number.

  13. #413
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    "Hello" and "Me, too."

    Hello all, I came across this thread shortly after receiving my letter in the mail. Below are my email correspondences so far. MY position is that Getty did not perform adequate actions to protect their property and a reasonable person (in the legal sense) would not be aware of their protected status.
    To whom it may concern,

    I recently received a letter from the License Compliance dept. of Getty Images referencing an unlicensed use of their images. The company that they address (fake company name) does not exist today, nor did it ever exist as licensed corporation in any State. The website mentioned was built as a proof of concept, never intending to be viewed as a legitimate commercial site. No income has ever been generated from teh existance of the site www.*****.com (this address is long since defunct). Also, the website in question was removed some time ago. The images in question were found via search engines and it was unclear that they were Rights-Managed.

    I sincerely apologize for the misuse of Getty Images property. However, since the intent was not malicious and the result was not commercial nor profitable to the end user, the request for a $3,000.00 seems excessive. I look forward to discussing this matter further.

    Respectfully,

    Me
    Dear *****,

    Thank you for your attention to this matter, we are in receipt of your letter dated December 07, 2006. We apologize for the late response.

    Getty Images represents some of the world’s best photographers and filmmakers. Getty Images has contractual agreements with it’s photographers to exclusively represent certain rights managed imagery and to license the use of these images to companies all over the world. The images Getty Images provides can be found in magazines, websites, and billboards, to marketing collateral, product packaging, and mobile devices, just to name a few. Getty Images’ obligation to its represented photographers and artists are not only to license, but to also protect their intellectual property from unauthorized use.



    Absent the appropriate licenses from Getty Images surrounding the specific use of the images in question; your company’s unauthorized use constitutes copyright infringement. The balance on this invoice represents a retroactive license and administration fee, settling Getty Images’ claim of copyright infringement, on behalf of its represented artists. Although the balance presented to your company is based on the cost of licensing, matters related to unauthorized use – otherwise known as copyright infringement – are not generally settled at the cost of licensing. Had your company originally come to Getty Images, before any unauthorized use occurred, regular licensing fees would then have been applied.





    Unfortunately, despite the fact that your company may not have known, this does not excuse your company’s obligation to pay the invoice to settle Getty Images claim of unauthorized use.





    Please be in touch with our department so we may resolve this as quickly and as amicably as possible.



    Sincerely,



    Ivette Johnson

    License Compliance Specialist

    Getty Images
    Thank you for your response.

    As you continue to reference "my company", I must again point out that there is no such company, now or in the past, as is named in your correspondences to me. The site was created out of hobby, not business related, and the images were found via means unrelated to your site or property. They were not labeled or watermarked to indicate that they were protected.

    I welcome an open discussion regarding this matter. However, it would be appreciated if you could present any evidence you may have of willful unlicensed usage of your images. Your images are floating around the internet unmarked as restricted, it is unreasonable to assume that they are protected. Since the images were available without visible restrictions (watermarking, etc.) it does no appear that your company took necessary procedures to ensure a reasonable person would be aware of their restricted use. The onus is on your company to show that I willfully violated your restricted use policy by knowingly using your images with knowledge of their restricted use policy. I look forward to your proof of this.

    I will assert again, this request for compensation is unreasonable.

    Respectfully,

    Me

  14. #414
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    sallyM asked Is "the location of your business" in the terms and conditions when purchasing an image?
    from what i have learnt their license focuses on the place where your target audience are. So if 90&#37; or more of your customers are chinese then the country for which you can legitimately claim the license is for is China. Their license evidently does not talk about your 'place of business'.

    Armeck:- it will be intresting to see how getty respond to this?
    As a suggestion what about if all the aggrieved parties arranged a meeting in a convienant place - it would have the following benefits:-

    1. we could all share ideas, thoughts and swap notes
    2. We could pool our resources. If enough people met we could all share the legal fees for a top copyright lawyer.
    3. The support would lift everyones morale.

    Anyone second this idea?

  15. #415
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    I think you may find that most of the top copyright lawyers work for people who have had copyright stolen as opposed to those in here who are being accused of stealing it.

  16. #416
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    The law Society provided me a list of the most experienced copyright solicitors all of whom undertake defence work. So long as they get paid it matters not who they act for unless by doing so it creates a conflict of interest. Therefore the solicitors who represent Corbis could also act for us against Getty and vice-versa.
    I am advised it is the position that if you received the images from a third party (and can prove this) and that you added these images to your website being unaware that the images dealt in were infringing then you have a s97 defence to any damages beyond the published license fee. (and that’s assuming Getty by then have redressed all the other legal, company, jurisdictional, publicity, fair trading and tax issues).

  17. #417
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armeck View Post
    Hello all, I came across this thread shortly after receiving my letter in the mail. Below are my email correspondences so far. MY position is that Getty did not perform adequate actions to protect their property and a reasonable person (in the legal sense) would not be aware of their protected status.

    <snip>
    Ok, this is just funny. Getty is going after companies that never existed. Wow, talk about desperation.

    Fortunately for YOU, your liability (if Getty can prove they are the sole legal owners of the images, that they took measures to protect their works, and that you did not acquire the images legitimately via other means) would probably be limited to the cost of the images themselves. Which even in Getty's case isn't readily apparent (or even standard) since the same image would cost you $500 in New York yet only $10 in Pakistan.

    Of course, bear in mind that I am not a lawyer, never have been, never will be.

    Honestly, I'd just ignore them and laugh at the company's humiliation. Then I'd feel sorry for Mr. Getty himself (may he rest in peace), given how the company he devoted his entire life to building has since gone corporate and literally <self-censored> on everything he stood for.

  18. #418
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    What I find very interesting is that the screeshots of my old site that they sent to me as proof were dated almost a full year ago! Those images haven't been up for nearly twelve months. There were no watermarks anywhere on the images at all.

  19. #419
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    I am advised it is the position that if you received the images from a third party (and can prove this) and that you added these images to your website being unaware that the images dealt in were infringing then you have a s97 defence to any damages beyond the published license
    My problem is that I cannot remember specifically where I got the image in question. However the letter I received from Corbis's legal representatives clearly shows images of their version with a visible watermark and mine without. I would have thought that this is evidence that I did get it from a third party.

  20. #420
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    Quote Originally Posted by armeck View Post
    What I find very interesting is that the screeshots of my old site that they sent to me as proof were dated almost a full year ago! Those images haven't been up for nearly twelve months. There were no watermarks anywhere on the images at all.
    So, Getty were aware of your 'infringement' one year ago but continued to let you use the images without issuing any 'cease and desist'? I'd like to see them explain that to the judge!

    Sal.

  21. #421
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    armeck - I think that a couple of phrases in Getty's reply are worth highlighting...

    "The balance on this invoice represents a retroactive license and administration fee, settling Getty Images’ claim of copyright infringement"

    "Unfortunately, despite the fact that your company may not have known, this does not excuse your company’s obligation to pay the invoice to settle Getty Images claim of unauthorized use."

    I have highlighted the phrase "Getty Images claim" because that is what it is - its not a calculated figure, based on any legal guideline or precident. Its an arbitary figure, unilaterally decided by Getty, pitched at a level which will make most corporates pay to save the hassle, still high enough to scare 'small' people caught up in this but not low enough that people will just ignore it.

    This being the case, don't be scared by the figures thrown around by Getty.

    Sal.

  22. #422
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    In the UK

    I have been following this thread for a few months and decided to contribute; the more affected people that do hopefully the more reassured others in the same position will feel.

    I work for a UK web design company that used 3 images in a site design for a client nearly 4 years ago. The images came from a disc with office-related images that came with a magazine. Which one? After 4 years how do I know! We don't even have the disc any more! But the images had no watermark. We now buy all our images from istockphoto or similar.

    Our client has been asked for over &#163;3000. However (luckily for us) he is bemused by the whole thing. As long as we cover him financially he is prepared to go to court and face Getty.

    He (with our agreement) made Getty an offer of &#163;750 (3 months worth of usage) in writing; stated the images had been removed promptly and apologised.

    Our position here is that copyright may have been infringed but unintentionally. No money has been made from use of the images. As soon as we were told that copyright existed we took the images down. We're offering the equivalent of 3 month's licence as a sign of good faith. Given that Getty are asking for a 6 month license (which costs &#163;1500) we're completely unsure as to where &#163;3000 comes from.

    Getty have responded with an offer of a 20&#37; discount.

    We'll be sending another letter to re-state our offer which we think is more than fair. We (and our client) are small businesses. There's just no way that either of us would even consider spending hundreds of pounds on images - nor would we steal copyright content.

    Having read this thread I feel pretty secure that Getty will either accept the offer (which is a fair one - &#163;250 each for 3 thumbnails) or that they'll pass this to debt collection - in which case we can tell them to leave us alone until they have a court order.

    I'll post back on how it goes.

    Has anyone received notification of court proceedings? All I can see is that people have either reach an agreement to pay or have faced off the debt collectors and heard nothing more.

    To site admin : is it possible to trim out all the completely irrelevant 'Getty suck! God I hate those scummers!' and 'yeah why don't we sue Getty for being a big company LOL' type posts? I'm not advocating removing those who have a pro-Getty stance or with different points of view but it's a long thread and irrelevant and inflammatory flames don't really add anything do they?

  23. #423
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    'My problem is that I cannot remember specifically where I got the image in question'
    to be honest Booler if i was on a jury i would accept that - because how the hell is anyone suppose to remember where they acquired an image years ago out of trillions of images on billions of web-sites. As a jury member if you applied the same defence to an image you acquired a few weeks ago then i would naturally suspect your story however you talking about years ago. Personally I cannot even remember sometimes what street i parked my car in let alone where i got one small crappy image from 3/4 years ago. It is for this reason that i suspect getty are claiming for only the past 6 months usuage and not the years it was actually used for. It is quite a clever tactic because most web-masters will be frightened to admit the image was actually there for 3 years because they fear they will be hit for even more fees for a greater period. BY saying 'yes actually it was only recently put up' you are denying yourself the opputunity of saying 'well its been years now and i honestly cannot remember'. For me this is a crux issue upon which i cannot find any legal precedent. I have put that qeustion to a number of non-legally minded people i.e. would you think it is reasonable for me to remember where i got an image from over 3 years ago on the internet. All of them emphatically said no. Therefore i would love this issue to go before a jury sadly however it is not an issue that does go before a jury - instead in most cases a county court judge - however factually i am sure they will think the same as any jury.
    One reason why Getty are claiming such high amounts is that for court cases of less than &#163;5,000, in the Uk those cases are fast-tracked into a system where neither party is liable for costs.
    Since legal costs are Getty's main weapon it makes sense to inflate the
    price over &#163;5,000 although i think this could backfire because correct
    if i'm wrong if the final award for damages is less than &#163;5,000 the
    judge could order no costs on the basis that it should have been
    fast-tacked to start with.

  24. #424
    SitePoint Addict StuckRUs's Avatar
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    The images came from a disc with office-related images that came with a magazine
    So did Getty say that you needed to prove this or did they just keep rolling out the "not our problem". If it's the latter then the PC mags need to be made aware of this. I received 2 mags yesterday, both with a pile of "free" photographic images, think I'll just bin them. I'll also contact the mags to see what their stance is on all of this.

    I too have signed up with iStock and am beginning to think it's not worth getting images from anywhere else. Problem is, how do we know the images on iStock aren't copyright? Does anyone choose an image then trawl through Getty trying to find it on there?
    SMILE! everyone will wonder what you're up to.
    Site - under construction - again

  25. #425
    SitePoint Addict StuckRUs's Avatar
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    I've emailed the editor at one of the magazines to see what he says. I've pointed him to this thread so he can read it himself. The magazines have legal departments to check over everything they do so hopefully we'll get a sensible reply. I'll post back if I do.
    SMILE! everyone will wonder what you're up to.
    Site - under construction - again


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