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Author Topic: Received extortion letter requesting $570 for erroneously posted private image  (Read 938 times)

infringenot

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I've now received three emails (NOT hard copies!) of the letter I assume everyone here is referring to.

It is requesting I pay $570 for (mistakenly) posting one of their small images several years ago.  It was live on my site for probably less than a year before I made it private as the service offering wasn't selling.

Anyways, I knew nothing about copyright stuff and my web designer may have been the one to post the image.  I just don't know.  They say I have 30 days to respond. (Then what??)

Are there good thread here that you could recommend I read?  I admit I'm a bit overwhelmed by the amount of info here and not sure which Subject lines to click on.

Thanks for your help!

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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infringenot, welcome to the forums. 

I know this all can seem a bit overwhelming but when it comes to the settlement demand letters things are almost never as bad as they seem. These letters are designed to make you feel the way you are feeling now.

Before I can offer any further opinions or links to look at and read I need some information. Who is the letter from? There are many different individuals and companies currently sending out these type of letters and to direct you to the right area I need more information.

In the meantime, you can type in the name of the company in the search box and you will most likely receive quite a few links to read to get you started.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

infringenot

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Hello Greg.  Thank you very much for your reply.  I've already started looking over the site and am already feeling overwhelmed.  :o  I'm not sure I have the constitution for this stuff but, here goes...

The first letter from a month ago (received it twice on the same day), and the second letter from today (also received it twice), from:  Sam Brown   Copyright.Compliance@gettyimages.com

From:
605 5th Ave S, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104 USA
Tel 1 800 972 4170 Fax 206 925 5001 www.gettyimages.com

Is that the information you meant?

Thank you again!


rock

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First THANK YOU to Matthew Chan, and to all the contributors on this site.
I received one of these letters about 5 years ago, and I decided to avoid them, no communication. My statue of Limitation has passed long time ago and nothing happened.

This a link to a small thread , in it "Mulligan" said: " if I had replied, it might have gone something like this:"
 http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/i-got-a-letter-today/msg17226/#msg17226


« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 01:46:33 AM by rock »

infringenot

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Good one Rock!  Thank you!

One thing i'm starting to get from perusing this site is that I shouldn't get so worried about all of this.  This company sounds like a bunch of bully punk conniving debt collectors.  So for now, I'm may have to add a few more numbers to my phones block list.  Whatever.

Thanks all.  I'm going to keep studying what is posted here and build some confidence.  ;D

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Yes, this was the information I needed. Make sure the image in question (along with any other images you did not take yourself or purchase) are removed from your site and server.  If it was one image you received the emails about you should not have anything to worry about.  Just ignore them and wait out your 3 year statute of limitations period, afterwhich nothing can be done and you are free and clear. 

I would keep reading and educating yourself, the letters/emails may become more threatening but the chances that Getty would actually sue you over what you described are infinitesimally small.  You can also fight back if you choose.  If you want to know the type of letters and tactics to expect and what you can do if you want here is a thread you can start with.

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/an-experiment-against-getty/
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

DSays

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Hi:
I also went through the anxiety "Infringenot" and many others are going through. I'm very grateful for this website and to Matthew Chan for running it.
Essentially I got a similar extortion letter from LCS (claiming to represent Minden pictures), asking for about $500 . First got the demand by email then a certified letter to my business address, which they got from my website. I had a photo of some seaweed on my site for a matter of weeks and took it down within minutes of being notified I was infringing on somebody's copyright. There was no indication on the image of it being copyrighted. After I wrote to explain the situation, they LCS, (kindly???) reduced the demand to $400 with a "this offer is good for only... days" (I've heard better lines at car dealerships!!!). I tried calling them and asked for Samantha Clemens, the person whose name was on the threatening letters. They would not put me through to her without my "Case/Reference number" which I refused to give until I spoke to Samantha Clemens. When I said "I am recording this conversation" the curt answer was "We decline authorization to be recorded" - End of conversation. In the meantime, I had a friend contact Minden pictures directly to ask about the cost of licensing the image in question - answer $50 (yes Fifty) for 1 year and $200 for up to 5 years.
I simply ignored LCS threatening emails and letter and have not heard back from them. (it's been a couple of months now).
I earn a living from copyrighted material and totally understand the need to protect it. But LCS is into extortion not protection. They need to be fought. Is there no way to counter sue them for extortion?
Again, thank you Mathew for keeping us informed.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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you can't "counter sue" them , unless they sue you first, which they won't. and I think "extortion" would be a "criminal" case as opposed to infringement, which is a civil matter.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

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Engel Nyst

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It is requesting I pay $570 for (mistakenly) posting one of their small images several years ago.  It was live on my site for probably less than a year before I made it private as the service offering wasn't selling.

If the image was displayed from your server several years ago , and for less than one year, then it might be passed the statute of limitations already.

The rule is: for an (alleged) infringement of a copyright, the copyright owner has a claim against you for 3 years since it happened. In the best case for them, count those 3 years from the moment you took down the image from public view.

If the image was taken down from public view more than 3 years ago, then they have pretty much no chance against you (imo). Because they must have found it with a bot scanning the site, and if it was entirely private not only they couldn't find it, but also there's no provable gain you make from it, nor harm to them.

PS: make sure you do remove it completely either way.
(quick writing on mobile)

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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If the image was displayed from your server several years ago , and for less than one year, then it might be passed the statute of limitations already.

The rule is: for an (alleged) infringement of a copyright, the copyright owner has a claim against you for 3 years since it happened. In the best case for them, count those 3 years from the moment you took down the image from public view.

If the image was taken down from public view more than 3 years ago, then they have pretty much no chance against you (imo). Because they must have found it with a bot scanning the site, and if it was entirely private not only they couldn't find it, but also there's no provable gain you make from it, nor harm to them.

PS: make sure you do remove it completely either way.
(quick writing on mobile)

FALSE...the statute runs 3 years from "date of discovery"..always use the date of the first demand letter to guage the SOL...

Also if the image was in a seperate directory or folder that was NOT password protected, it's not "private", just not readily seen by the public..The picscout bot scans all directories, unless behind a password
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Engel Nyst

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If the image was displayed from your server several years ago , and for less than one year, then it might be passed the statute of limitations already.

The rule is: for an (alleged) infringement of a copyright, the copyright owner has a claim against you for 3 years since it happened. In the best case for them, count those 3 years from the moment you took down the image from public view.

If the image was taken down from public view more than 3 years ago, then they have pretty much no chance against you (imo). Because they must have found it with a bot scanning the site, and if it was entirely private not only they couldn't find it, but also there's no provable gain you make from it, nor harm to them.

PS: make sure you do remove it completely either way.
(quick writing on mobile)

FALSE...the statute runs 3 years from "date of discovery"..always use the date of the first demand letter to guage the SOL...

You're correct, from discovery. I didn't mean to imply it is not, but to say that if the description of the OP is accurate, that is, if the image was publicly available several years ago, and for less than one year - then it wasn't available anymore from his/her server -, then it couldn't have been discovered now.

I remember server logs with picscout and such bots, that parse directories, sometimes from an address that discloses that there's a "case number" associated with the image, and sometimes without. Sometimes Getty immediately sent letter, sometimes - IIRC - they did not send anything for a while, despite that logs show that picscout read the image, and/or the directory where it was.

If it was me, I would not go for the date they send letter, but from the last date they must have had the information.

That said, your guess is likely correct. I trust your experience in these cases tells you that the OP probably says "private" but means publicly accessible just not on their web pages. In that case, indeed picscout might have seen the image recently, somewhere in a forgotten directory that nobody but bots care about. In that case however, it is likely the OP doesn't profit from it, doesn't use it for financial gain, heck it's forgotten in a corner. I think they can use that to understand and negotiate low damages if any.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 05:17:53 PM by Engel Nyst »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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I think Getty or whomever would need to prove that an image "in a forgotten corner" / folder, was publicly accessible via a link or some other means, that would at least be my argument.. and another scenario..

image is indeed used on a public page 4 yrs ago. That image has long since been removed, and now a letter appears...could be that someone looked at archive.org, and saw the image, hence date of "discovery" might be at present even though the image may have been removed long ago...this s a highly unlikely scenario, as all of this is an automated process, and there aren't many companies that manually search.. I suggest everyone instruct archive.org to not index sites as a precaution anyway.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Good advice Robert.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

Matthew Chan

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You are generally correct. However, because we have all kinds of novice readers here, we err on the conservative side by just saying use the letter date. There can be no dispute on the date using that and it is easy for most novices to refer back to vs. trying to back calculate the likely discovery date.

If it was me, I would not go for the date they send letter, but from the last date they must have had the information.
Read http://Defiantly.net by Matthew Chan. Under the First Amendment, I have the right to share opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, symbolism, snark, sarcasm, epithets, & combative language. Under Section 230 of CDA, I am only responsible for posts I write, not others.

Matthew Chan

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I am not a big fan of phone communications in these matters as I think written communications offer a more controlled response and you are less likely to say things you shouldn't.

Also, a lawsuit is generally inconvenient for most people. However, there are a few situations where a lawsuit is nearly meaningless especially when it is filed for the sole purpose of motivating a settlement. A counter-suit is only applicable if a lawsuit were to occur.

Some people have taken to getting a declaratory judgment ahead of any possible lawsuit but that is mostly people who have some money to spend on lawyers.

I tried calling them and asked for Samantha Clemens, the person whose name was on the threatening letters. They would not put me through to her without my "Case/Reference number" which I refused to give until I spoke to Samantha Clemens. When I said "I am recording this conversation" the curt answer was "We decline authorization to be recorded" - End of conversation. In the meantime, I had a friend contact Minden pictures directly to ask about the cost of licensing the image in question - answer $50 (yes Fifty) for 1 year and $200 for up to 5 years.
I simply ignored LCS threatening emails and letter and have not heard back from them. (it's been a couple of months now).
I earn a living from copyrighted material and totally understand the need to protect it. But LCS is into extortion not protection. They need to be fought. Is there no way to counter sue them for extortion?
Again, thank you Mathew for keeping us informed.
Read http://Defiantly.net by Matthew Chan. Under the First Amendment, I have the right to share opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, symbolism, snark, sarcasm, epithets, & combative language. Under Section 230 of CDA, I am only responsible for posts I write, not others.

 

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