This was my open reply to George Riddick’s email to me. My written response is self-explanatory.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I appreciate the civil and respectful tone because I half-expected that when I started reporting on you, you might be inclined to become unpleasant and attempt to threaten me as you have with others. You should realize that I am taking the opportunity to respond to you for the benefit of my reading audience and it allows me to voice my opinions, not because I feel obliged to you.
Let me start out by saying that I have not taken the time to carefully study your copyright complaints or claims. You may or may not have legitimate complaints. What I ABSOLUTELY DO KNOW is that your conduct is appalling, disgraceful, unprofessional, and is borderline harassment. I also find your communications to be extortionistic and bullying in nature.
It is for that very reason that I have chosen to report on the events surrounding you and ImageLine Inc. Quite simply, I could not believe the emails that were submitted to me were from any so-called knowledgeable professional.
I have no problems in your protecting your copyrights but there is a right way and there is a wrong way. And because your communications has been so outrageous and over-the-top, it greatly overshadows any legitimate issues and complaints you might have.
You have made false accusations that what Oscar and I do on this website is a business and “venture capital source”. Believe it or not, I get no financial compensation whatsoever except from the few donations that come in where some people want to express their gratitude over the valuable information and support they receive here.
Oscar freely and generously donates his time to reply to queries in our discussion forums, write articles for the website, and do telephone interviews. It is only when readers decide that they need personalized attention and service that Oscar even begins to bill anyone. Even then, Oscar charges a minimal hourly rate for such a service. I assure you that far more people receive “free service” than are charged. And those that do pay do so willingly and happily with no hard selling on our end.
Last year, I launched this website as a counterattack to what I felt was unreasonable demands and bullying tactics by Getty Images. I wanted to resolve things peacefully but despite my best attempts, they continued to threaten me legally. When that occurred, I knew that the only way I could protect my interests was to fight back aggressively and publicly.
To set the record straight, I first heard about you and your tactics nearly a month ago. However, I did not feel it was necessary to provide any news coverage as I thought your impact was fairly small and reasonably harmless. It also did not directly relate to the subject of our website. However, when I saw and read the actual emails you wrote to letter recipients, I was outraged and appalled. You took the whole idea of an extortion letter to a whole new level. As I have said, even Getty Images, MasterFile, and Jupiter Images combined did not match your venomous emails.
Regarding my posting links to blogs that complain about you, I chose only the ones that seemed most substantial. There could have been many more links posted but I did not feel they were substantial enough to link to. Oscar has nothing to do with any content he does not write. Ultimately, I am the Editor in Chief of the website so I accept responsibility for the decision to post those links.
I believe people inherently prefer to avoid conflict. And so, when there are entire blogs dedicated to fighting and complaining about you, I believe there must be some substance to it since it appears you have angered and upset so many people.
I have no wish to dedicate any more time to covering your case than is necessary. It is not good use of my time. My time is better spent elsewhere on other projects. I personally have no axe to grind with you because I have never met you. However, I cannot in good conscience allow others to be subject to your bullying and extortionistic behavior when I can do something about it. You appear to be relentless in spewing your venom on others that your letter recipients felt like they needed to reach out to us for help.
This has come full circle. The very emails you have sent others have now come back to you for all to read. The interesting thing is I need not say much about them. The emails clearly speak for themselves and they do not paint you in a very credible or positive light.
If I had a request, I would ask you to conduct yourself more professionally and appropriately if you truly care about your issues and want to be treated more seriously. You have not engendered much goodwill and your credibility is low. For you to become righteous and claim that you are trying to stop digital piracy rings hollow for me.
If you wish to continue the dialog, you may do so on our discussion forum. Any future communications you send to me, I intend to publish on the website for the sake of transparency.
Publisher & Editor of ExtortionLetterInfo.com