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Author Topic: Getty Images Letter  (Read 396 times)

pablo8

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Getty Images Letter
« on: March 07, 2017, 03:35:38 AM »
Hi all,
We received a letter via email from Getty stating that we have used an image of theirs without a license and they are charging us £750! It was 1 image which I was unaware of. It came straight down. I have since told them all the usual for example it was put up by mistake, company closing etc etc and still they come after me. Today (7th March) is the day they have said they are forwarding this over to a collection agency. We cannot pay £750 so what (if any) options do we have?
Here is a an overview of the latest letter so any help really appreciated. The questions are what I asked them in bold along with their responses.
Thank you for your email.

1.   Firstly, this business will cease trading due to illness in the coming months. However, just for clarity please can you send me better evidence that would certify you have registered the image in question with a patent, trademark and or copyright office?
This is not relevant to this matter.  Images are protected by copyright the moment they are created.  Copyright registration is not required to protect one’s copyrights, nor did the settlement offer by Getty Images contemplate the statutory damages that you would be responsible for if there was a copyright registration.  Any copyright registration for this image will be produced in accordance with a court process that may be initiated if we are unable to come to an agreement on settlement.
please, find the link below to our watermarked version of this image: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/photo/pound-sign-made-of-pound-coins-high-res-stock-photography/158894760

2.   As you can imagine I also seeked out legal advice who also want to know why there was an absence of any watermark or copyright logos at the time of acquisition that would have identified the image as being your exclusive property which would have been an affective deterrent and a sign for any company to look elsewhere.
Please, have a look at the FAQ sent to you and especially the part: ‘The photo did not have a watermark’
For additional FAQ, please visit http://stories.gettyimages.com/copyright-faqs/ 
In order for you to fully understand what is about, please, take advise from a copyright law specialist.

If you are not willing to either come back with sufficient documentation or to settle as per our last offer, we have no choice but to escalate this matter to our outside legal department by the 8th March 2017. The offer will then be rescinded and you will be held liable for any possible additional fees incurred.   


stinger

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Re: Getty Images Letter
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2017, 09:31:39 AM »
If you are closing the business, I would not worry about this.

If they turn this over to a collection agency, simply inform the agency that this is not a debt but a claim (which, in your opinion is invalid).

As long as you communicate with them, Getty will continue to pursue this in the hopes that your conscience might cause you to part with money on their behalf.

There's lots of good information on this forum.  The more you absorb, the more comfortable you will likely be with ignoring them.

codeman

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Re: Getty Images Letter
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2017, 03:36:57 PM »
I wrote this response to other folks in your situation a while back.

Firstly take a deep breath and don't panic.

I had a letter from Getty demanding over over a £1000 for a small poor resolution image over a about 4 years ago.

My advice is do not respond to the email/letter because if you do they know they have hooked a live one, Getty do not care about any mitigating circumstances they are just after your money and send the settlement demand letter to scare you into giving them money without any proof they have the copyright of the image.

They do not charge an average fee as they have claimed they bump up the price to try and screw you for every penny they can, in my case they were asking 10 times the actual license cost.

Bear in mind it is up to them to prove that you have infringed and to do that it would have to go to court, don't do their work for them by admitting anything in writing, email or by telephone.

Before paying anything they would have to prove to you that they own the copyright or the exclusive rights to mange it, therefore demand that they provide you a copy of the agreement between themselves and the photographer (redacted only where necessary).

If you have to put anything in writing make sure you send it recorded delivery and unless they send letter to you recorded delivery I would ignore them.

They set an artificial deadline to panic you into paying up under threat of legal action, the best thing you can do is slow the process down and makes it more expensive for them and therefore not worth pursuing.

If you ignore their letter they will eventually pass it to a debt collection agency (Attradius) to further try and intimidate you into paying up but as it is not a debt they cannot do anything.

When Attradius contacted me by phone I said I was not prepared to discuss until I had spoken to a solicitor however these people are trained to trip you up and get you to agree to pay the money (they get a cut of it if you pay up) so stonewall them and make it as expensive as possible to chase you.

The only response to every question they asked was responded to with the same answer, they will keep on and on trying to wear you down but all you have to do is stonewall them with 'I will have to discuss this with my solicitor'.

The last contact I had from them was nearly three years ago.

Like you I was worried sick when I got a letter from these reptiles but after reading up on these forums I realized that Getty is trying it on, remember they have never successfully sued, although they like to give the impression they have.

Remember don't panic and don't get stressed over it.

pablo8

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Re: Getty Images Letter
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 03:05:08 AM »
Thank you so much for the responses. Just to clarify, the business is not shutting down. I tried that to make them go away but obviously had no joy. They state that it will now be passed over to this debt collection agency. It was 1 image which had no getty image writing on it at all so how was I supposed to know? Also I see above that you have asked "Before paying anything they would have to prove to you that they own the copyright or the exclusive rights to mange it, therefore demand that they provide you a copy of the agreement between themselves and the photographer (redacted only where necessary)." Does the below not cover that or is it worth asking them? They may go away!


1.   Firstly, this business will cease trading due to illness in the coming months. However, just for clarity please can you send me better evidence that would certify you have registered the image in question with a patent, trademark and or copyright office?
This is not relevant to this matter.  Images are protected by copyright the moment they are created.  Copyright registration is not required to protect one’s copyrights, nor did the settlement offer by Getty Images contemplate the statutory damages that you would be responsible for if there was a copyright registration.  Any copyright registration for this image will be produced in accordance with a court process that may be initiated if we are unable to come to an agreement on settlement.
please, find the link below to our watermarked version of this image: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/photo/pound-sign-made-of-pound-coins-high-res-stock-photography/158894760

2.   As you can imagine I also seeked out legal advice who also want to know why there was an absence of any watermark or copyright logos at the time of acquisition that would have identified the image as being your exclusive property which would have been an affective deterrent and a sign for any company to look elsewhere.
Please, have a look at the FAQ sent to you and especially the part: ‘The photo did not have a watermark’
For additional FAQ, please visit http://stories.gettyimages.com/copyright-faqs/ 
In order for you to fully understand what is about, please, take advise from a copyright law specialist.


codeman

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Re: Getty Images Letter
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 04:14:05 PM »
I would just ignore them, they are hoping you are will get stressed and panic with their artificially tight deadlines and that you will just hand over your money without a fight which is what they want after all if they can convince you to hand over £750 for the cost of a couple of letters that is a real win for them.

They do not care about you or the stress they cause they just want your money they are not doing from some high moral stance to protect the rights of the photographer.

You have not committed infringement, they may claim that you have committed an infringement but only a court of law can make that determination.

It is up to them to prove that you have infringed and that can only be done in court, it is not up to you to prove your innocence.

If you were to contact them and ask for proof that they are allowed to manage image on behalf of the owner and did not supply it then one has to assume they do not have the necessary documentation.

If it did go to court which is highly unlikely the fact that they did not supply the information when requested it would be looked on unfavourably by the judge.

Consider if I emailed you out of the blue and claimed that you had used one of my images and that you owned me £1000 pounds would you pay me the money, of course you would not, least ways not without some kind of proof.

One thing you have realise is that Getty is not an honest or reputable organisation as has been shown on many occasions.

Just because they point out that the image is on their website does not mean that they have the copyright or the rights to manage the image, you only have to look to the infringement claim Getty made against the Carol Highsmith accusing her of infringement by displaying one of their images on her website.

They really did screw up there as Carol Highsmith was the photographer who took the photograph and she donates her pictures to the American Library of Congress royalty free.

So they claimed they owned image that did not belong to them because it was on their website  and attempted to extort money from the photographer who took the image.

It would have been great to see them get stuffed in court but unfortunately it was settled.

Getty will probably lose interest quickly if you do not communicate with them and they will get Attradius to try and frighten the money out of you.

However Attradius can do nothing as it is not a debt simply a claim, they may make a nuisance of themselves phoning you up demanding the money claiming you have committed copyright infringement but as it has not been proved in court they can do nothing.

If they do call just tell them you will not discuss it until you have spoken to your solicitor and keep saying that to every question they ask (it drives them crazy), do not try and attempt to get into a discussion as that is what they want, they will then try and wear you down to get the money out of you.

JUST ANSWER EVERY QUESTION AND I MEAN EVERY QUESTION THEY ASK EVEN IF IT IS ABOUT THE WEATHER WITH 'I NEED TO DISCUSS THAT WITH MY SOLICITOR' THEY WILL REALISE THAT YOU ARE AN AWKWARD BUGGER WHO IS NOT GOING TO GIVE UP WITHOUT A FIGHT.

Remember the more time they waste trying to get money out of you the less profit they make, so make it expensive to deal with you, a good trick is to demand paper copies of the documents.

With paper copies you can say they did not arrive so eventually they would have to send them recorded delivery (more expensive).

Do not communicate with them by email as that costs almost nothing, just use the argument that you want a proper paper trail with any accompanying correspondence.

They me phoned three times and I just stonewalled them so I guess they gave up with me and went to chase someone else who might be easier and cheaper to get the money out of.

Your best defence is to get educated about this by reading the ELI forums.



« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 04:15:56 PM by codeman »

bigbill

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Re: Getty Images Letter
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 06:12:57 AM »
A client of mine had a similar letter showing all the directors names & Address, where the business traded, companies house information regarding their business and turnover etc.

I was concerned and the image in question was taken down. After reading a lot on these forums you need to remember that no matter what they say in the eyes of the law they have no legal way to pursue you for money.  Unless this has been ruled on by a court their claim is about the same as me bumping into you on the street and demanding £1000 or I will send a collection agency.

We chose to completely ignore the letters and will see what happens. This was around 4 months ago and we have missed their 'deadline' nothing else has arrived from them.

I actually did the same research to the company who sent us the letter, I found their directors, their trading names, where they were based and previous business ventures. to say they were dodgy is an understatement, using virtual offices, directors of multiple companies, had dealings in all sorts of hosting and IT type ventures and been removed from directorships before.

Until you have had a court hearing and a judge or similar official has awarded this company damages, ignore them. I imagine you will continue to receive threatening letters charging various amounts, if a collection company turns up just remain calm and ask for the official court ruling, then call the police if they will not leave.

 

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