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  1. #626
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    UK update

    Paulie A - I am also in the UK and have received what I am told is a final demand threatening 'escalation'. I intend to reply politely stating that if they don't accept our very reasonable offer of compensation we will consider the matter closed.

    Have you had further action?

    Has anyone had any legal action (as opposed to debt recovery) taken against them in the UK or US?

    ADMIN : could we perhaps split this thread and have one about the process that people are going through and another about the law and opinions?

  2. #627
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    Been told by an IP solicitor from a big firm that we are entitled to ask for written confirmation of the title of ownership for the images. If they don't give them to us then we can legally refuse to pay.

    BTW, the accounts for Corbis Images UK Ltd are also overdue but I understand this is quite normal and the fines are pretty insignificant to start with.

    P.S. my solicitor has advised me not to write anything that can be considered defamatory.

  3. #628
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    I have spoken with Trading Standards. They said the whole thing seemed "very odd", and they advised me "not to pay".

    They said they cant give a 100% answer on what the outcome would be, but their inclination was to not pay as the costs were simply outrageous. They also told me to never deal with them over the phone and ask for everything to be done via mail. She said that she found it hard to beleive that any court would order costs that were higher than what they were demanding, and as its a small claims court you would not need any kind of legal representatives. She also said that if it came to it, she would prepare a draft defense for me.

    So... if they call me, im not going to answer. If they mail me, im not going to reply. If i get some baliff's or whoever coming round, im going to tell them that the whole invoice and ordeal is in dispute and i am working with Trading Standards who have advised me not to pay.

    I have faxed over the entire "Final Demand" to Trading Standards as they were interested in all the strange address's that they have (3 different address's on one demand).

    Anyone else made any progress with their cases?

  4. #629
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    Pauline,

    How many demands have you received so far? Have you acknowledged any of them? I've just got my second letter from Corbis' solicitors and they are asking for payment by Monday at the latest. Thinking of posting 4 or 5 cheques for £250 each, with different dates to show willingness. Not meeting my solicitor until the 24th.

  5. #630
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    i have received a letter, and then a call, and then another letter which was final demand.
    After i got the first letter, i **** myself and thought i could talk my way out of it by explaining myself but they wouldnt budge and were demanding thousands. I called them and they called me back.
    I then left it and heard nothing for 5 weeks, then they called again. I told them i was going to seek legal advice about the matter, which is when i contacted trading standards.

    The second letter i got was dated the day before they called me the second time, this was the "Final Demand"...

    Oh, and it 'Paulie' by the way, not 'Pauline'. Im a bloke!

  6. #631
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    'We are entitled to ask for written confirmation of the title of ownership for the images. If they don't give them to us then we can legally refuse to pay.'

    Well said tristina. It’s totally absurd to expect people to pay without seeing some of proof of ownership. Of crucial importance is the either the date of the image or the date of its first publication. If Getty refuse to supply either of these two facts then I fail to see how they can ask for legal costs because but it is utterly unreasonable and impossible to settle a demand without knowing if firstly these images are in fact copyright protected and secondly whether they belong to Getty.
    Should you now pay Getty then there is nothing to stop someone else turning up in a year’s time claiming they owned the copyright to the images. What defense do you have? 'I thought they belonged to Getty' - is that not what you are saying now?

  7. #632
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    Does Getty have the burden of proof here?

    1. Who owns the copyright?
    Usually the person who actually snapped the photo or created the property.
    2. When did they create the property? They can prove that of course?
    A registered copyright would settle that matter immediately.
    3. How many people were granted the right to distribute the property from time of creation to now?
    4. When did Getty obtain LEGAL RIGHT to represent/distribute the property.

    Any gap of time between creation and when Getty obtained that legal right ... is going to make it iffy for Getty to prove the history of that property.

    If the property was obtained by you before that time then it is the responsibility of the creator to file the claim and collect on it.

    I have images and written consent from now famous photographers from 10 years past. Some of those images show up on the stock photo sites today. Who do you think is going to win a court case if I get a bill from Getty, Corbis or anyone over one of those photos?

    Do any of you who are served with a bill to pay have a right to know this information BEFORE YOU PAY?

    A resounding OF COURSE!

  8. #633
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    My IP lawyer has also told me not to sign Corbis Licence Agreement. They can't enforce us to enter into any kind of contract.

  9. #634
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    A resounding OF COURSE!
    Is that an opinion or a legal fact?

  10. #635
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    A resounding OF COURSE!

    Booler, it is a fact. Also, we need a bill. Corbis haven't sent us one. They want the money to go to B&M. Why?

  11. #636
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    Also, we need a bill. Corbis haven't sent us one. They want the money to go to B&M. Why?
    I'm not sure I understand what you mean?

  12. #637
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    We need to find out whether Corbis Ltd owns the rights to the images. I suspect the rights belong to Corbis Corp. I'm waiting for information on the legal structure of Corbis Corp to establish where Corbis Ltd fits in all this.

    We also need to have a bill. Corbis Licence Agreement is not an invoice. We don't even know if this is referring to Corbis Corp or Corbis Ltd. Read the declaration at the bottom, in italics. It's basically a disclaimer for them: "... and understand that payment of the amounts identified herein is voluntary."

    I emailed my accountant this morning asking whether, under UK corporate law, a company (without a purchase order) can ask for payment without providing an invoice beforehand. I've also asked this question to Trading Standards but they are now referring me to the Financial Ombusman Service. So far no luck getting through their telephone advisory service.

  13. #638
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    Here is my issue, I had several banners made. One of the banners i feel sure all the images came from sxc. The other one i'm not sure where the images came from. I asked if they were safe to use and the designer said yes. Yet another situation is where a person has a subscription and charged me for the images at a discount. HOw does the license issue work where you paid for the images as part of the service?

    For the banner where i'm not sure where the images came from, I sent him an email asking and posted this link as a reference.

    What else should i be doing?

  14. #639
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    If Getty and corbis try to sue on the 'invoice' then for all the reasons mentioned here I think we have a good defence.(company/vat laws etc)
    If however they sue for damages based on a breach of statutory duty i.e copyright infringement then I think its no different to say a claim for personal injuries where no invoice is necessary.(what I believe is referred to as unliquidated damages).
    In the later case in order to recover their costs they must provide sufficient material facts upon which to base a claim. They do not have to provide all the facts but just enough to allow the defendant to decide whether to defend. Proof of ownership is vital. To establish proof you must let the defendant know firstly whether the image is in fact copyrighted i.e. when the image was taken, who took it, when and where was it first published and secondly who currently owns the copyright. It seems neither Corbis nor Getty are doing this, quite possibly because they know ownership does not properly vest in their company structure and possibly because they know the images are not copyright protected in the UK.
    How does the license issue work where you paid for the images as part of the service?
    If the person to whom you paid did not have copyright ownership then you potentially could be sued for infringement with the right to then sue (bring in as a third party) the person to whom you paid the money. So long as you have kept proof you paid then you will be considered an innocent infringer meaning you do not have to pay punitive damages but instead just the cost of however much the reasonable license fee would be for that image.
    If you do not know where the images came from then you cannot claim that you do not believe copyright subsisted in those images. Itís always best to say that you considered them copyright free i.e. they were in the public domain or from a country outside international treaties such as the Berne agreement. Either way itís advisable to change the banner for images whose copyright you know you own.

    I hate to say this but I suspect the company structure of both Getty and Corbis will be immensely complicated. By creating a labyrinth of subsidiaries Getty have a vehicle for escaping payment of all the royalties due to photographers because unless the photographer has an army of accountants/company lawyers there is no way he or she will know what royalties they are legally entitled to which from reading other forums is what Getty have been doing since 2001.

  15. #640
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    Smile

    gettys letter of demand quite clearly states 'this invoice doe not ..etc'

    It is an invoice. Getty cannot subsquently expect legal costs for a claim of unliquidated damges becasue you have never had notice of such. All you have so far had is a claim for a liquidated demand i.e. an invoice.

    If you pay getty now there is nothing to stop the photographer, corbis or anyone else subsquently suing you for the same image - so for that reason alone it is essential getty tell you when and where the image was first published and do they have proof of owning copyright throughout that entire period.

    Likewise if Corbis are suing on an invoice they like getty have to firstly give you all the necessary address, company number details and secondly some information as to who and when copyright subsisted in the image. If they don't just ask any solicitor of the impact of simply suing without giving the defendant any chance to settle. All the ones i have spoken to have said whilst it does not jepordise their claim it does make it exceptionally hard to for them to justify a claim for legal costs.

    GettyImages stock fell last week:-) i wonder why? perhaps if they stopped suing the wrong people they might avoid a complete share collapse in the next 6 months. Oh look their shares have just gone down again to 44.14 :-)they are in trouble!!http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/...04012007-1.htm
    sally

  16. #641
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    So even if a person is a graphic artist. THey have a subscription to the service adn they create a banner for me. Does that mean the own the copyright? Can they make this banner for me? I mean the reason a graphic artist subscribes to a site is so they can create art work to support their business. Why else would they subscribe?

  17. #642
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    jacobpressures asked 'So even if a person is a graphic artist. THey have a subscription to the service adn they create a banner for me. Does that mean the own the copyright?'

    If the graphic qualifies for copyright then Yes it will automatically belong to its creator unless he or she expressly, in writing, assigns copyright ownership. However whether such a graphic can qaulify for international copyright protection depends on many factors in particular was the graphic sufficiently original in content and made with a resonable amount of labor, skill and attention. e.g. a simple circle is highly unlikely to be copyrightable (but it could be trademarked) whereas a complex graphic with artistic merit is highly likely to be copyrightable.
    for a subscription service you really have to read the small print as many expressly assign away their copyright ownership to the subscription site owners - much as i suspect what happened to some photographers 10 years ago who without knowing it signed away their copyright ownership to corbis or getty.

    Had an e-mail yesterday from getty images which had come from:- Getty Images Headquarters
    601 North 34th Street
    Seattle, WA 98103 USA
    It said
    'Any unsettled matters in this claim of unauthorized use will result in immediate escalation to our outside collections agency, Gettyís legal department or each individual photographerís attorneys. Henceforth, Getty continues to expect payment of the demand presented to completely settle this matter.'
    ..yeah right - as if the photographers know anything about it!
    Once again they refuse to divulge the date of the image or any details of its copyright assignment - i wonder why:-)
    out of interest it said also:-
    ' E-mail transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender therefore does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message, which arise as a result of e-mail transmission.'
    Basically forget any ideas about relying on e-mails as evidence either to or from getty.

  18. #643
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    just to note; I once won a court case (quite different issue) based on email evidence, regardless of disclaimers.

  19. #644
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    I see getty is not hurting for money

    My question is - If getty is trying to bill individuals for images base on several years of usages (ex billed for 3 years of usuage) would they not have to keep filing adjustments on their Corporate taxes as the billing would reflect different fiscal years base on when the income was susposed to be earned? Being billed for ex 3 years they would have to adjust their taxes for ex 03, 04, 05

    "Getty Grosses Millions Of Dollars In Profit"

    Annual Income Statement

    All amounts in millions of
    except per share amounts.
    View: Annual | Quarterly Dec 05 Dec 04 Dec 03
    Revenue 733.7 622.4 523.2
    Cost of Goods Sold 196.9 172.7 148.3
    Gross Profit 536.8 449.8 374.9
    Gross Profit Margin 73.2% 72.3% 71.6%
    SG&A Expense 246.8 222.0 208.4
    Depreciation & Amortization 64.2 59.5 63.2
    Operating Income 225.9 168.3 103.3
    Operating Margin 30.8% 27.0% 19.7%
    Nonoperating Income 12.3 9.6 5.8
    Nonoperating Expenses 7.6 3.8 9.8
    Income Before Taxes 230.6 174.0 87.7
    Income Taxes
    Net Income After Taxes 149.7 106.6 64.0

    Continuing Operations 149.7 106.7 64.0
    Discontinued Operations -- -- --
    Total Operations 149.7 106.7 64.0
    Total Net Income 149.7 106.7 64.0
    Net Profit Margin 20.4% 17.1% 12.2%

    Diluted EPS from Total Net Income ($) 2.28 1.72 1.11
    Dividends per Share -- -- --

    http://www.hoovers.com/getty-images/...n-income.xhtml

  20. #645
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    Man this is too funny.

    The whole POINT OF GETTY IMAGES IS SO PEOPLE CAN USE THEIR IMAGES, ROYALTY FREE. They are doing a sweep? And exactly how do they do this "sweep"? They got a program that scans every site on the internet for a getty images?

    The creator of this topic is ****ing mindless. End of story.

  21. #646
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    huh?
    If you dont beleive the topic, then why post?

    Does anyone have any updates to their own cases?

  22. #647
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    And exactly how do they do this "sweep"? They got a program that scans every site on the internet for a getty images?
    If you read the thread you will see that this is essentially true but then you don't have to believe it until the letter arrives.

  23. #648
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    Hello, I'm sorry to pop in like this, but here it goes. I'm from the Internet Archive (archive.org) and just found out about this use today. We are investigating how this happened through our Wayback Machine. Honestly, this isn't what we are here for and not what we want our services used for. We have tried to be an asset that people would like to use for research. So. With that said, we'd like some more information about this. If you would like to (confidentially) correspond with me about this, I would really like that. Again, we found out about this today, and would like to make this better from our end. Please help us do so.

  24. #649
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    hello Mr.Wayback!

    My company had our website in the Wayback machine, and it was good fun looking back at the old website, i really liked the idea. Unfortunatly, since we got the dreaded letter from Getty we have had to remove our site from your archive by using the robots.txt method. Such a shame, i still think the wayback machine is a great idea but it should not be used for purposes in which Getty are (maybe?) using it.

  25. #650
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    Post Update 2007

    Paulie_A, you asked for an update. I had my 1st Getty letter near the end of Sept 06 which I did reply to (following advice from the FSB legal line) informing them that I had proof that I got the image from another source years ago. They just ignored my letter and sent the 2nd letter/final demand at the end of October. Then at the start of November they sent me an email dismissing my letter I had sent them and rambled on (as they do) about still wanting money etc. Using this thread, I have ignored the 2nd letter and email, so basically it is now over 2 months/9 weeks since I have heard anything.

    If they send it to the debt collectors, (for UK cases) Morton Smith, there is enough information to dispute it on the many legal/illegal and other points in this thread. Plus quote Section 40 of the UK Administration of Justice Act 1970 etc etc to them.

    I had this confirmed by a debt collector who I met at a FSB meeting as once you quote UK Administration of Justice Act 1970 etc to a debt collector they are a bit stuffed as they donít have a legal leg to stand on. (if they donít have a court issued demand)

    I have just taken a non paying client to small claims courts, there are a number of correct and legal steps I had to follow, from a correct legal invoice issued by business with legal status, to statements of truths to be signed and submitted, to papers being served on the offender with proof etc etc. Getty has not done any of this.

    I did think of actually signing my business up as a client of Morton Smith, now that would be an interesting conflict of interest for them...


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