WARNING: Getty Images Cracking Down!

Found this thread through searching Google because I am experiencing the exact same problem. A former client has received a demand for £2000 today. Their business is tiny and their site gets less than 50 visitors a day.

Just wondered if anyone has successfully challenged this, perhaps with the DMCA quoted in the post by Kosh? I’ve always felt safe in the knowledge that a copyright holder could only take action if you refused to remove it when asked? I have no legal experience so any help or advice would be gratefully received.

Also I wish to re-iterate the warning. Please look carefully at all the sites you have done in the past and make sure you can account for every single image used. The web is a huge place but it seems there is no hiding place from the increasing sophistication of these robots.

You have to wonder though, WHO is exactly going to be getting the money brought in from all the fines… are they going to give it to the photographer?

I work for Getty Images.

Getty Images has millions of customers who pay to use images everyday. Some of these customers pay extra to have exclusive rights to those images.

For some reason certain customers ignore all of the terms and conditions on our web site and steel images potentially putting their clients at risk financially.

We charge a fee on op of what you would have origionally paid to recover lost revenue and royalties to photographers. Any of you should know you have to protect intellectual property.

We will find and we will take individuals to count over images used without licenses. When was the last time your took some food and ate it without paying or ate at a restaurant and walked off?

Getty has some of the Worlds best images and we will protect them.
The reason you take them is because they are good.

STOP DOING IT!!! :shifty:


Yes but Getty also needs to realize that the person who gave them the images may have also hosted them with other sites as well so there really is no way to tell except by watermark or hotlinking that the image is really from their site…and besides there are billions of sites and trillions of images on the net…do they think they can check them all

My situation is a bit more unique and complex however. I run a company that is essentially set up as a reseller. We have signed contracts with various vendors giving us authorization to advertise their product and use content from their website on ours. Essentially we are an independent representative (or an ‘extension of’, if you will) of the companies we represent.

The letter I received from Getty stated they had discovered the use of these images on my site (2 different images from 2 different vendors). They accompanied this notice with an invoice of $1,000 per image but had a caveat of a discount if I paid right away (which made the total $1840.25).

Keep in mind that I have signed contracts with these vendors giving me permission to utilize the content from their respective websites. What I do on my site is basically make a Mirror image of the vendors site and content so that when visitors come to my website they see familiar products and information. All of this is in line with my company acting as a representative to my vendor companies.

My feeling is they are barking up the wrong tree. I will send them copies of my contracts and for all intensive purposes tell them to go stuff themselves.

For a little over $1800 I am not sure any company would be willing to go to court especially when they will have an extremely (likely impossible) time proving intent, malice, or my profiting from these images. It would cost them more than that to just file the paperwork.

Note that I am certainly not advocating copyright infringement because I think violators should be aggressively sought after. What I have problems with is companies like this going after anyone and everyone whether guilty or not without even taking breath to consider the circumstances. They likely get paid very well from their threatening letters/invoices. I spent the better part of a day searching Seattle records and found not one small case such as mine ever being heard in a court of law. There is just no money in it I guess.

Anyone’s opinions or alternate advice as to how to better handle this would be most welcome. I would really like to hear if someone has a similar situation to mine.

I think you may want to revisit those contracts. Assuming that it’s legal to do so, you might want to state that the original content provider is to be held liable for any breach of copyright present in their content.

Getty blows, iStockPhoto / sxc.hu rule. Simple as that.

And you will lose. Every time. Why? Because the way you are pursuing the court cases is in violation of the law. The law itself says that admins have to be notified of copyright violation and given 10 days to remove it, and if they do, they are protected. By ignoring that and trying to bill the admin directly, you may “win” many out-of-court settlements. But in court you’ll get your butt handed to you on a platter. So don’t come here and give us your BS posturing, as we all know your bark is worse than your bite. Your little legal threats have no teeth.

I’m not scared of Getty. If someone violates copyright it doesn’t give you the right to break the law in pursuit of them. In my opinion, it makes you common criminals.

They are stopping, as evidenced by this thread. You know what they’re doing? They switching to FREE ALTERNATIVES. You guys are seeing your business model collapse all around you, and your whole company is in a panic now. And the more you tighten your grip, the more customers will slip right through your fingers.

sxc.hu FTW!


Does anyone know if this applies to just the creative images or the royality free images or the editorial as well? Just curious, I need to back check mine to double check.

I, too have received the dreaded Getty letter, for an image on our site. Can anyone tell me what the DMCA is? As a Canadian, I’m not entirely aware of the repercussions of this action. Does paying up admit guilt? Are they required to give 10 days notice to a foreign party?

Any guidance or information on these issues would be greatly appreciated…


US laws have no sway over Canadians. You’ll need to find out how your country protects you.

As an aside, gang, I got my acronyms mixed up. It’s the CDA, not the DMCA, that protects us. Here is a relevant link:


From a business point of view I think Getty are very clever. They are a big rich multi-national corporation threatening Ma and Pa businesses, non-profit organisations and individuals who’ve mistakenly used their images (mostly from 3rd party sites) with court action unless they stump up fines that will put them into financial difficulty and they know these people will pay them because they dont want to risk even larger payments that could ruin them. The line of pure genius is 'pay this fine within by date ‘x’ and receive a generous 15% discount. I can only imagine how high the percentage of people are who have taken this option.

I have yet to read of a case where anyone has refused to pay and I really want to know if anyone has and what has happened. I’ve not heard of a single case going to court yet either. Personally I think Getty are relying on everyone settling out of court because I dont think its a given that they would win if it did get to that stage. I’ve heard of several cases of them negotiating now, despite the ‘no negotiation’ claim on the letter. I think if someone offers to pay 50% they are probably more than happy because they dont have the risk of losing in court and they are still getting a substantial amount of money, plus they know the individual paying is probably relieved to get away with not paying the full amount… I bet more than a few people have got themselves into serious financial trouble paying debts of these kinds of amounts - the price they are putting on these images is ridiculous.

Personally I think this is virtually an extortion racket and to quote someone else ‘opressive use of copyright law’. I’d like to see a big company take them on and win.

Dont get me wrong, I am opposed to the breaking of image copyright, but Getty’s way of dealing with it is like using a bazooka to swat a fly.

3 years ago I purchased a website template for $38.00. This template included an image that I continued to use even though I no longer used the template. I received a letter and invoice from Getty who says they own the image and want me to pay $1000 for it. I removed the image immediately, explained to them how it was obtained, that I had no idea they owned it, and there was no way I can afford to pay $1000 for the stupid image.

They sent me an email today saying it does not matter if I got the image from a template, and I have to pay the invoice otherwise face legal action. I don’t understand this, and I don’t know what to do.

How liable are image hosting websites ?

Is yours a profit or non-profit website? I’d certainly try to negotiate. Make them an offer and see what they say. Be sure to post how you get on as I think this thread could become a good resource for people receiving these demands.

Wouldn’t this be a more relevant link:

Doesn’t this all remind you of the shady practices of the RIAA?

My website is a home business and I make very little money from it. So far it’s pretty much non-profit (I know what you meant.) The template came from templatemonster.com I believe. The order on 2Checkout.com shows it coming from http://www.template-help.com.

I talked to a lawyer about it and he suggested I find the usage agreement from the website where I purchased the template. The template is no longer on the website, so I do not know if their current usage agreement will apply. I opened a support ticket with them to see if they can/will help me.

I’ve always tried to be honest and comply with internet laws (as far as I know them), so this is really depressing me.

give them a call.

IMHO this is tantamount to black market mafioso bull.

Getty images charging £1000 for an image? surely a C&D letter would be better PR for them but lets face it, it’s all about the money baby.

Shame really as they are a well known company who really should think more.

If the member who claims to work for Getty Images would care to come back and discuss this, we might get some reasonable answer.

But I doubt that will happen.