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.