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Author Topic: Agence France Presse  (Read 21444 times)

Cam Winston

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Agence France Presse
« on: September 15, 2016, 10:46:54 PM »
Has anyone had a letter from these folks before? It's the same LCS.global style I have read about here. Trying to decide what to do with it. I don't really want to write back to them, I have read a lot of feedback saying that is the worst thing to do. They didn't list any kind of fee or charge, just a statement that removing the image wouldn't would resolve the issue. This is all due to a small photo used on a blog post which is now gone, including the entire blog. So strange, and if I am not mistaken, AFP is not affiliated with Getty, although the image in question is listed on Getty's site. Also, I noticed the image being licensed by another photographer as well (it's a news article photo, hence the error in thinking it was okay to use). I don't believe it's in the copyright database, I ran several searches. Any help or guidance would be much appreciated!

Mojo88

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2016, 10:07:03 AM »
I am small business owner in Rhode Island and I am getting the extortion letters from Getty Images. I will tell you that the first letter did not mention any dollar amount, it was same language as you reference. Upon receipt of the initial communication from them, I took down the images in question, and I called them. I honestly had no idea what the problem was. The web site in question had been created (for me) by a web designer about 12 years ago.

Many of my friends say that I should never have responded to Getty - no calls or letters. I'm not sure if that's a wise approach. Someone else can chime in on that.

If Getty was honest and ethical, then I might not having a problem settling with them. But it seems to me (after reading up on this subject) that Getty is operating almost as a criminal enterprise, claiming ownership of images that are in the public domain and freely available. I find Getty's behavior absolutely terrible and I am now determined to pay them nothing.

I had a 30-minute chat with Matthew Chan, and I have retained Oscar Michelen.

Anyway, good luck with your extortion process.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 10:10:26 AM by Mojo88 »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 11:50:46 AM »
If you decide to reply to them, and if it were me, I would tell them to shag off...if the image is availalbleto license/purchase elsewhere, then it's up to them to prove their case...who's to say you didn't obtain it elsewhere?...Just be careful in your wording, don't admit to anything and don't prove their case for them..
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.
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Cam Winston

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2016, 12:58:22 PM »
Thanks for some insights guys.

I don't believe we will ever use any kind of stock photography again (it's super corny anyways), we will just make our own content. This all sounds like an elaborate scam. Just googling the words "extortion letter" gives nothing but thousands of results of "the getty letter". No question, these folks have the right to protect their copyright, but this appears to be a phishing expedition. If proving successful, I can see other companies doing this going forward. There is so much out there! I bet even the color of my house is somehow copyrighted. Shit, I think there is a few people I need to threaten to sue just thinking about it.

I have a few questions if anyone can help:

How much is typically accepted for settlements on these cases, in my case one image?

Is there any reliable way to find out if an image is listed in the copyright office? I searched by title, the original photographer (who is does not live in the US) and all the keywords I could think of and so far, nothing. I think I would go ahead and ignore these letters if that is the case as even if they sued me, I would only be liable for the actual damages. The image currently shows an amount $180 on getty's website. I suppose I could ask for the registration number, but then they might play coy.

Being that this the "first" letter, in your opinion (not legal, just yours from experience) do you think it would be wise to respond or wait for the court summons? I found several sample respond letters on the net, the most famous one includes the verbiage that admits fault (which I find incredibly strange). My thoughts were, buy the original (not that it matters obviously), show that you have it without acknowledging that you just purchased it (oh yeah have it, looksie). Let them do their due diligence, and wow, if they decide to sue, how lame that would look to a jury. "An unknown blog with 5 total articles sued for a single stupid picture, of which, they later purchased".





Engel Nyst

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2016, 03:50:36 PM »
How much is typically accepted for settlements on these cases, in my case one image?

That's not really the question, a reasonable offer depends on the value of the image. If you look on the internet for similar images, and make an average, you can reasonably make a offer based on that. Their own price is an indicator too, but if it's overpriced compared to many others I'd ignore it.
If this was Getty with a price of 180, I'd probably estimate that to 18. /justme
Anyway you say it's AFP, and I don't know.

Quote
Being that this the "first" letter, in your opinion (not legal, just yours from experience) do you think it would be wise to respond or wait for the court summons? I found several sample respond letters on the net, the most famous one includes the verbiage that admits fault (which I find incredibly strange).

This is a good one, if a little old:
http://artlawjournal.com/respond-getty-images-demand-letter/

Engel Nyst

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 03:54:16 PM »
BTW, the likelyhood they'd sue you over an image isn't high. (for Getty is was like 0.3% probability or lower, don't imagine the court is preparing papers for you as we speak! it's not impossible, just terribly unlikely. Please understand they want you to believe no one has anything better to do than to prepare your papers.)

Again it depends on AFP's practices, actually, which I don't know. Did they send the letter themselves, or was it an agent for them, or they as agent for the photographer?

Cam Winston

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 04:50:18 PM »
Quote
Did they send the letter themselves, or was it an agent for them, or they as agent for the photographer?

It was done through LCS.global out of Seattle, the same people that handle a lot of these letters for getty and just happen to be located very close to their main office. Even though it says AFP, I have a feeling it's still getty as they have the image on their licensing system under an AFP collection. I could be wrong, but it seems likely since AFP is mostly a news organization and probably wouldn't be actively scanning small websites for fraud (but who knows). I have seen a bunch of names under these LCS letters, mostly companies I have never heard of. I ran a docket search and didn't see a whole lot of cases under AFP's name, interesting I saw some where they were suing getty (a circle jerk of sorts).

Engel Nyst

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 04:58:18 PM »
Ah, LCS is Getty - in my opinion, though they apparently sort of deny it. It seems (to me) that it was Getty's licensing department, a couple years ago, and it started to sign letters under the name "License Compliance", then "License Compliance Services", dropping Getty's name from the letters and sending letters on behalf of other stock agencies too. In time they may have been meant to become a different company than Getty - but apparently they were incorporated only a few months ago, and personally I don't believe they're yet "different" at all.
See for example: http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/license-compliance-services-inc-corporate-naming-hanky-panky/

Cam Winston

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 05:13:17 PM »
Quote
Ah, LCS is Getty - in my opinion, though they apparently sort of deny it. It seems (to me) that it was Getty's licensing department, a couple years ago, and it started to sign letters under the name "License Compliance", then "License Compliance Services", dropping Getty's name from the letters and sending letters on behalf of other stock agencies too. In time they may have been meant to become a different company than Getty - but apparently they were incorporated only a few months ago, and personally I don't believe they're yet "different" at all.
See for example: http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/license-compliance-services-inc-corporate-naming-hanky-panky/

Yeah, that seems to be the case.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2016, 07:48:36 AM »
It's been stated before, here it is again...

you have Getty Images....who also owns a bunch of smaller stock agencies...

Getty purchased Picscout, the scanning software company that finds supposed infringements.

Getty than came up with and owns LCS who works with Picscout to send out letters..

at the end of the day, the are one and the same.
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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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2016, 07:25:33 PM »
sholtz, if you decide to write to them, the first thing ever to clarify is if they have copyright over the image. Make them prove it. Some word their letter like: please prove registration of the image; if not, don't bother me anymore. (in essence)

That's only the first thing, but it might be the essential. Can also make an offer if you like. It seems it might matter if it ever gets to a court, a good faith attempt to negotiate, just make sure it's a fair market value for the image (which isn't necessarily how much they ask for)

Cam Winston

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2016, 12:13:19 PM »
Quote
sholtz, if you decide to write to them, the first thing ever to clarify is if they have copyright over the image. Make them prove it. Some word their letter like: please prove registration of the image; if not, don't bother me anymore. (in essence)

That's only the first thing, but it might be the essential. Can also make an offer if you like. It seems it might matter if it ever gets to a court, a good faith attempt to negotiate, just make sure it's a fair market value for the image (which isn't necessarily how much they ask for)

Good idea, I think I will wait for the letter with the extortion and have our lawyer send it. I agree though, if some random company sends a request for indemnification, but no proof, it would be unwise to settle. The fact of the matter is, we receive scamming correspondences daily, everything from unpaid taxes to office supplies, all fraudulent of course. Supplying no proof but asking for a hefty fee is in the same vein, and quite frankly, it should be addressed.

With that said, as much as I want to hate on Getty over this, it has taught me a lot about copyright law. I will make sure to update this thread with the outcome. 

Cam Winston

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2016, 12:04:44 PM »
As promised, here is an update on this. I sent them a single email almost three months ago, and it has been deafening silence since. Is this normal? Kind of annoying, I would prefer they at least let me know if the case is still active or not. I will update the thread again if the contact me or when SOL passes.

BTW, you have all been great! Love the scrappiness of you folks.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 12:08:52 PM by Cam Winston »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2016, 12:36:03 PM »
Have no fear, they'll get back to you...keep in mind they send 1000's of letters out..
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..

Matthew Chan

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Re: Agence France Presse
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2016, 08:59:11 AM »
Oh, don't worry. Your case is still alive. If you want to call and settle with them, they will definitely speak with you! :-)

I think it's funny. People are upset when they get harassed with letters but you feel neglected and WANT to get letters to let you know if the case is active?  Trust me, it's active!

As promised, here is an update on this. I sent them a single email almost three months ago, and it has been deafening silence since. Is this normal? Kind of annoying, I would prefer they at least let me know if the case is still active or not. I will update the thread again if the contact me or when SOL passes.

BTW, you have all been great! Love the scrappiness of you folks.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

 

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