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Dec 20 2011

Getty Images Prefers to Settle with Photographers and Filmmakers on Infringement Claims

According to Getty Images Inc, Quarter 1-2008, Form 10-Q filing with the SEC under the Legal Proceedings section on page 23, they state the following:

“We have been, and may continue to be, subject to legal claims from time to time in the ordinary course of our business, including those related to alleged infringements of the intellectual property rights of third parties, such as the failure to secure model or property releases for imagery we license. Claims may also include those brought by photographers and filmmakers relating to or handling of images submitted to us or to the companies we have acquired. We have accrued a liability for the anticipated costs of settling such claims for which we believe a loss is probable.

It appears that are on the receiving end of legal threats of photographers and filmmakers. They prefer to settle those claims where they believe a loss is probable? Is that why they prefer to settle so quickly with me and other letter receivers?

In late 2007, Getty Images stated they felt there would be no material adverse effect on their consolidated financial position. However, in 2008, Getty no longer states this. In fact, they have anticipated costs for settling claims they do not believe they can win.

According to Getty Images Inc, Quarter 3-2007, Form 10-Q filing with the SEC under the Legal Proceedings section on page 23, they state the following:

“We have been, and may continue to be, subject to legal claims from time to time in the ordinary course of our business, including those related to alleged infringements of the intellectual property rights of third parties, such as the failure to secure model or property releases for imagery we license. Claims may also include those brought by photographers and filmmakers relating to our handling of images submitted to us or to the companies we have acquired. We have accrued a liability for the anticipated costs of settling claims for which we believe a loss is probable. There are no pending legal proceedings to which we are a party or to which any of our property is subject that, either individually or in the aggregate, we believe are expected to have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

According to Getty Images Inc, Quarter 2-2007, Form 10-Q filing with the SEC under the Legal Proceedings section, there are no statements regarding possible infringements.

Their legal standing appears to have materially changed from 2007 to 2008. In fact, in cases where Getty expects to lose, they prefer to settle. Does this sound familiar?

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