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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down WARNING: Corbis Images may also Cracking Down!

    I am new to the forum and I must say that it looks like an excellent resource. I hope to be around for a while!

    I came in here while searching for information about threatening letters from imaging companies and I noticed the thread about Getty. I was about to contribute to this but it was suggested that due to the age of the thread that I start another. Moderators please feel free to merge it with the original thread if you think it is more appropriate.

    It may be that CORBIS are now jumping on this image litigation bandwagon. Last week I received a letter from a law firm in London who represent Corbis. It pointed out two places on my website (c/w screenshots) where I was using an unauthorised image of a shopping cart. I am genuinely not sure where the image came from but I suspect that I copied it from a vendor's site a while back when I was offering several different versions of shopping cart software. I have searched around and all of their sites have changed in the interim so I cannot find it. I will admit it was on my site (I replaced it immediately) but I was not aware that it belonged to Corbis. No doubt like many of you, I did things that were a bit naive when I got into this business more than five years ago.

    Under threat of court action they say that I must now pay them almost 2400 for the use of this image for the last year. The image, which is a stylised shopping cart icon, is very old. As far as I can see it has been around since 2000 or before. I have searched the Corbis website and I cannot find it under the reference number they quote.

    From the other thread I understand that in the UK they have to prove that I used the image knowingly, which I did not. the other thread also suggests that they would have to take me to a small claims court where the maximum costs they can be awarded are 100. I am not sure if this is true and I am based in Scotland which has a different legal system.

    Can anyone help with this? Has anyone else been affected?

  2. #2
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    They also will have to prove it originally came from Corbis. If they cannot give you a correct reference number then they are also at fault and they must supply you with the correct information.

  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I am not a legal professional and since I'm American I have no idea how Scottish law works. However, in the other thread, some of the members suggested that unless Getty (or in your case, Corbis) sends you mail by registered post (you have to sign proof of receipt) in order for it to be legal. In any case, I would seek professional legal advice. You don't want penalties to escalate if Corbis does indeed have a case.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

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    SitePoint Enthusiast Starbuck's Avatar
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    I think you need to challenge the validity of their case - ask them to prove right of ownership and when it took effect, its possible they purchased the rights to the icon after you put it on your site - and its possible that the person who sold them the rights, had no right to do so.

    These cases are so open to interpretation if they're not providing a summary of facts, showing you a screen shot and saying its theres, gimme gimme gimme - is a fishing expedition.

    Also - say and admit to nothing, your rights include the right to remain silent which I'd recommend you do until they provide overwhelming evidence of any wrong doing.

  5. #5
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    I have decided that since the mail arrived by regular mail I will take no action at all at this stage.

    I have called a couple of lawyers here in Scotland. One could not really help without taking the case on. He advised me that what I had done was wrong but I am not sure that he fully understood the situation. The other could not say anything because of some sort of conflict of interest.

    I hesitate to enlist a lawyer because legal fees are likely to exceed the amount claimed.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast anitabath's Avatar
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    I guess it makes sense to always make sure that images are free to use ... geez, this stinks.
    Say No to Crack - humor and randomness for all ages.

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    SitePoint Enthusiast Starbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booler View Post
    The other could not say anything because of some sort of conflict of interest.
    Conflict of interest usually means they represent the opposing side.

  8. #8
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    "They also will have to prove it originally came from Corbis."

    Is this a fact?

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast Starbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booler View Post
    "They also will have to prove it originally came from Corbis."

    Is this a fact?
    The burden would be on Corbis to prove the image came from them, a court won't accept hearsay.

  10. #10
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck View Post
    The burden would be on Corbis to prove the image came from them, a court won't accept hearsay.
    If you are from Scotland, then this may be true. But if you are not can you be sure what courts there may or may not accept? Please remember that here we all come from different walks of life with different rules and different customs.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict StuckRUs's Avatar
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    Booler, in England we have the Citizens Advice Bureau, do you not have something similar in Scotland? If so, call then and ask to make an appointment with one of their solicitors for advice.

    I have to say I've always tried to be careful where I got my images from but all of this made me decide to go back over all my client sites as well as my own to double check the sources. How impossible is that? Luckily 99.9% of the stuff I've used are photos taken by the client themselves but there are a few that I suspect I've picked up from Freebie disks that came with web mags where the disks have long gone so I have no proof, Certainly can't find them on the web anywhere but then I don't really know what to search for. Unless you kept the original image name you're stuffed.

    I have now set up folders specifically for images and titled them

    Mag Freebies
    Purchased
    Client Supplied
    Permitted Use

    and keeping as much info with each pic as I can so for example,

    Purchased, I'll store the image along with the receipt,
    Mag Freebies I have the disk contents in a folder that's dated and uses the mag name and issue number.
    Permitted use is where I've contacted an owner to ask and they've emailed back, I store the email with the image

    It's a royal pain but I'd rather be safe. Any images I have failed to find I've taken down and replaced with something of a known source.
    SMILE! everyone will wonder what you're up to.
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  12. #12
    Caveat surfer Buddy Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booler View Post
    I have decided that since the mail arrived by regular mail I will take no action at all at this stage.
    IANAL but I don't think that just pretending you never got the letter is a good idea.

  13. #13
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuckRUs View Post
    Booler, in England we have the Citizens Advice Bureau, do you not have something similar in Scotland? If so, call then and ask to make an appointment with one of their solicitors for advice.

    I have to say I've always tried to be careful where I got my images from but all of this made me decide to go back over all my client sites as well as my own to double check the sources. How impossible is that? Luckily 99.9% of the stuff I've used are photos taken by the client themselves but there are a few that I suspect I've picked up from Freebie disks that came with web mags where the disks have long gone so I have no proof, Certainly can't find them on the web anywhere but then I don't really know what to search for. Unless you kept the original image name you're stuffed.

    I have now set up folders specifically for images and titled them

    Mag Freebies
    Purchased
    Client Supplied
    Permitted Use

    and keeping as much info with each pic as I can so for example,

    Purchased, I'll store the image along with the receipt,
    Mag Freebies I have the disk contents in a folder that's dated and uses the mag name and issue number.
    Permitted use is where I've contacted an owner to ask and they've emailed back, I store the email with the image

    It's a royal pain but I'd rather be safe. Any images I have failed to find I've taken down and replaced with something of a known source.

    Excellent Idea IMO! I have similar folders just to keep my you-know-what covered! However, Although I keep receipts, I never thought to add them to the same folder as the images I purchase. It looks like your way is much better organized! Thanks for the heads up!
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  14. #14
    SitePoint Enthusiast Starbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    If you are from Scotland, then this may be true. But if you are not can you be sure what courts there may or may not accept? Please remember that here we all come from different walks of life with different rules and different customs.
    It assumes the readers not from a country where people are still burnt at the stake, and it stands to reason such a claim would need to be supported by evidence of wrong doing - and that can only be established, in cases like this, where ownership is proven without a doubt.

    Else, there is no wrong doing.

    But thank's for the multicultural heads up, none the less

  15. #15
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Well most of us know what "assume" does, don't we.

    Here's from the Business & Legal Forum:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah
    always seek professional advice...
    Attention: Members, please remember that this is a forum for opinions and while you may find opinions useful, they don't take the place of professional legal advice. SitePoint suggests that you find professional legal help for all your legal questions.
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=412294
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast Starbuck's Avatar
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    Yes it would be foolhardy to take anything said on a forum and use it as gospel in any court, opinions are sought and given - nothing more nothing less.

  17. #17
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    Yes it would be foolhardy to take anything said on a forum and use it as gospel in any court, opinions are sought and given - nothing more nothing less.
    AFAIA aware no one has suggested that we should use our chat here in court. The thread was intended to discuss Corbis copyright, its legal approach and implications. There is another thread about a similar issue with the other company that has been running since July.
    [http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/show....php?t=390902]

    These threads are valuable and there is also a degree of comfort to be found where stories are exchanged and up to date information promulgated. I was hoping to hear from other people who had received the Corbis demand because it seems that I am isolated at present.

  18. #18
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    Booler,

    A friend on mine got a Corbis letter early this year for one image. He also got a Getty letter too for an image - he can't recall where he got either images.

    As far as Corbis is concerned, he got a letter for a UK solictor (without receiving anything from Corbis itself, unlike Getty's approach). He took the image down and ignored the letter. Few weeks later he was phoned by the solicitor, threatening legal action. He told them to stop bothering him and if they wanted to take him to court, to go ahead. He never heard from them again.

    Sal.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Zealot
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    I got a second letter this morning. I now have until 2 January to pay.

  20. #20
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    Hi Booler - Me too - payment due date 2nd jan also by coincidence.

    It has really caused me some sleepless nights

    Have a happy christmas (try too!), and hopefully and it will blow over ...
    Last edited by toneharb; Dec 23, 2006 at 07:20.

  21. #21
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    Toneharb, how much did they ask from you and did you ignore their first letter?

    (Merry Xmas to all by the way)

  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booler View Post
    I got a second letter this morning. I now have until 2 January to pay.
    Choosing the 2nd Jan seems a fairly nasty option for a invoice deadline. The banks and Royal Mail will be closed between 31st Dec and 2nd Jan in Scotland, and Royal Mail are useless around Christmas. Most business owners will have no interest in paying an invoice before Christmas and are probably more concerned about paying the HM R&C bill in Jan. It's like they want you to fail.

  23. #23
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    It's like they want you to fail.
    Or it's automated system that does not know it's a holiday period?

  24. #24
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    Corbis Wins $20 Million Judgment

    Check this out guys, Corbis mean business:

    http://www.lightstalkers.org/corbis_wins__20_million

    Corbis is owned by Bill Gates the richest man in the world so they can afford the best lawyers.

    What can we do? Do you think Bill Gates will forget about us? Who knows?

  25. #25
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    Check this out guys, Corbis mean business:

    That case involved the flagrant reselling of thousands of images which one of only a few of the defendants who turned up actually admitted downloading from Corbis. It does not apply to the circumstances of people who did not know nor had reason to believe that copyright subsisted in Corbis.
    Not only that it is the ONLY case were Corbis have won anything for image infringement.
    Its all a load of BS and just relax. Corbis are like getty -for a whole range of reasons mentioned in the getty thread they haven't got a leg to stand on. Tell them to f off.
    sally


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