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Author Topic: An Experiment Against Getty  (Read 93384 times)

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2012, 12:04:32 PM »
As you said Moe, if no one complains they can't do anything about the rating. Uncle Glenn must have his demand letter program fine tuned, as I remember reading he has stated that 50% of his revenue is through his demand letter program. I would be interested in knowing what the complaint situation looks like with the Hawaiian Atty. Gen.'s office. I may write them as Robert wrote the Washington State Atty. Gen.'s office asking for a copy of all complaints filed against HAN.

You're right, Greg. It seems they should do worse, although a C is a very low rating by BBB standards.

What's even more shocking is that Hawaiian Art Network has an A+ according to the BBB in Hawaii:

http://www.bbb.org/hawaii/business-reviews/art-galleries-dealers-and-consultants/hawaiian-art-network-in-honolulu-hi-27000881

Here's why the BBB says HAN deserves such a sparkling grade:

Quote
Reason for Rating
BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised Hawaiian Art Network LLC's rating include:

Length of time business has been operating.
No complaints filed with BBB.
BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

In other words, this may be because their paying victims sign nondisclosure agreements and the victims who are free to do so are not complaining to the BBB.

Those who have received a HAN letter, this is your golden opportunity to strike back at them: Their fresh record is waiting to be filled with your complaints! Don't forget to tell the BBB all about the mysterious baitpaper epidemic on the internet!
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.

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Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2012, 01:30:08 PM »
@ Greg, already ahead of you..it appears that they direct the complaints to the BBB, the HA AG site is pretty cheesy, and I could not find an area in which to request records..doen't mean it isn't there buried somewhere tho..
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

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Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #47 on: July 27, 2012, 03:18:39 PM »
Just an update for everyone, the screen on the Getty payment website still says that this case is not available for online payment and has not changed. 

Getty has not as yet responded to the BBB complaint which was delivered to them on the 24th.

I have not heard anything as of yet from the Washington State or Ohio AG offices, the FTC,  or my Fed and State Congressman and Senator. 

I will keep everyone updated.
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.

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Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2012, 08:59:43 PM »
I got this e-mail from the Washington State Atty. Gen.'s office and it is basically an acknowledgment they have received my complaint but one of the things I noticed it says that they are experiencing increased volume of complaints which will result in a longer processing time. Hopefully some of this increase is all pointing towards Getty images in my Getty pen pal Douglas Bieker. Below is the e-mail I received.

Quote
Gregory,

Thank you for submitting a complaint to the Office of the Attorney General. Your complaint is very important to us and we have assigned it to a consumer resource center specialist.  Due to the volume and complexity of complaints made to our office, normal complaint processing time is approximately 4 weeks.  We are currently experiencing an increase of incoming complaints which may result in a longer processing time.  We apologize for the delay and thank you very much for your patience.

Please do not respond to this email address.  The mailbox is not monitored.  If you have questions, please contact our Consumer Resource Center at 1-800-551-4636
.
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.

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Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #49 on: July 29, 2012, 10:20:39 PM »
While talking on the phone tonight with Robert discussing the Atty. Gen. complaints one of the things I mentioned was Getty's response always seem to be just a modified form letter. When the complainant mention that Getty had never provided proof the stock answer was always that there was a confidentiality agreement between Getty and the artist so they would not provide the requested proof, however they would provide an affidavit as to the contract. I had noticed this while reviewing the complaints and told Robert it would be very interesting to see how Getty replied to my complaint as I have a local attorney working with me who knows he is mainly here for backup in case Getty is foolish enough to attempt a lawsuit and I wanted to handle the main part myself. My lawyer did send Getty a letter letting them know I had contacted him and he was monitoring my case, he also let them know that they needed to provide proof of their claim before there could be any more negotiation towards a settlement. Where this becomes interesting is he told Getty that if there is any confidential information within the proof requested we would both be willing to sign confidentiality agreements promising not to discuss any part of the agreement other than with Getty in resolving the claim. Getty's response to this for the most part was their same old song and dance stating that they would not provide the requested articles in less it was through discovery but where it differs from the norm and Robert said he had not heard this in a Getty letter before was and I quote:

Quote
"To provide this information before hand would take additional time as well as additional costs. Our settlements are set up to quickly close unauthorized use cases. If cases were to go to legal proceedings, our represented photographer would have a registration prior to filing."

This letter was also from my good Getty penpal Douglas Bieker who is basically saying that it just takes too much time and expense to point and click print to include the requested documentation. Also I'm not sure what to make of the part where it says "if cases were to go to legal proceedings, are represented photographer would have a registration prior to filing" which to me sounds like they are saying that either the photographer doesn't currently have one or may not have one but would file one prior to a lawsuit.

I am not sure as I am certainly not a legal expert by any means but I am curious if this was a slip on Mr. Bieker's part basically admitting that they are pursuing exorbitant damages on works they know are not even registered. This may be similar to the statement copyright compliance specialist Nancy Monson made when she stated that Getty does not even require their artists to register their works with the copyright office.

I would appreciate any thoughts and comments you may have on this and I will post this response on Scribd for you to view if you wish at the link below.

https://www.scribd.com/collections/3777294/Correspondence-with-Getty

Thanks!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 10:40:58 PM by Greg Troy (KeepFighting) »
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.

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lucia

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #50 on: July 29, 2012, 10:51:24 PM »
Quote
If cases were to go to legal proceedings, are represented photographer would have a registration prior to filing."
Did they write "are" instead of "our" in a formal communication to an attorney? Of did you mistype when posting to the blog?  The former would be rather amazing lack of proof-reading in a business matter. (The latter...well.. blogs and forums... I'm pretty much a typo queen when entering stuff in these boxes.)

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2012, 11:02:01 PM »
@lucia,

They did not and this is my fault. I recently purchased DragonDictate and am in the process of training it and it confused the our with are and I just did not notice it before I posted the message. Thanks for catching that and letting me know, I will correct it in the original message.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2012, 11:03:57 PM by Greg Troy (KeepFighting) »
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

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #52 on: July 30, 2012, 01:32:01 AM »
Quote
If cases were to go to legal proceedings, are represented photographer would have a registration prior to filing."


But would that really matter anyway because aren't they supposed to have it registered prior to their first contact with you regarding an infringement, rather than simply registering before filing and after detecting the infringement and contacting the individual?

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #53 on: July 30, 2012, 07:45:37 AM »
Douglas Bieker completely ignored the request at hand. It was requested that agreement between the photog and Getty be made available, Greg and his lawyer also offered to sign a confidentiality agreement to see this so called "agreement"....Bieker completely skirted this question. I have my doubts that a "confidentiality" agreement even exists.
I'm looking into getting my hands on this document (if it exists in the frist place)

As far as the registration, they don't have to have this is order prior to first contact,I think ( if memory serves) they have 3 months after the infringement is found to get their act together. But we know they use empty threats of lawsuits and very rarely file any suits anyway, so getting these images registered is not on their priority list, not to mention it's the artist that has to register them not Getty in most instances.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong about the 3 month window please.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 10:28:01 AM by Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) »
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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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #54 on: July 30, 2012, 08:03:57 AM »
Now that you mention it I think you are right about the 3 months to register your works which meant from the date of that letter they had 12 business days to get it done before their 3 months expired and my demand letter outlining my campaign against Mr. Bieker and Getty was sent after the deadline had just passed.
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

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #55 on: July 30, 2012, 08:08:23 AM »
I thinks it's safe to say in your case Greg, that the image may be registered already, as it's part of the "Stone Collection" however, there is a good chance there are issues with this registration as it's registered as a compilation....

Now that you mention it I think you are right about the 3 months to register your works which meant from the date of that letter they had 12 business days to get it done before their 3 months expired and my demand letter outlining my campaign against Mr. Bieker and Getty was sent after the deadline had just passed.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 08:48:30 AM by Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) »
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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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #56 on: July 30, 2012, 08:28:00 AM »
I think it is registered as a compilation with the original artists as well as being thrown in with the 97K+ images of the Stone Collection so I would agree with that.

I still find it interesting that no matter what there is always a reason why they can’t provide you with proof.  They all need to go over and take a class from the folks at Jack Daniels on how to handle these things and get the letter recipient on their side by making the letter recipient your friend and walk away feeling good about the situation and the company that sent the letter. 

For those of you who have not read this letter here is a link to the thread.
http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/linda-ellis-lindas-lyrics-dash-poem-letters-forum/jack-daniels-sends-the-nicest-cease-and-desist-letter-ever!/


I thinks it's safe to say in your case Greg, that the image may be registered already, as it's part of the "Stone Collection" whoever, there is a good chance there are issues with this registration as it's registered as a compilation....

Now that you mention it I think you are right about the 3 months to register your works which meant from the date of that letter they had 12 business days to get it done before their 3 months expired and my demand letter outlining my campaign against Mr. Bieker and Getty was sent after the deadline had just passed.
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

stinger

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2012, 10:17:37 AM »
Just an update on my letter to my Congressman. 

I walked into work this morning to find a message that someone from my Congressman's office had called on Friday regarding my letter.  This got me excited.  Could it be this easy?

Unfortunately, when I tracked her down, she had some difficulty remembering the Friday call.  Then she came back with, "This office does not get involved in legal issues between companies."

I explained that I was not asking them to and that I could take care of my issues with Getty myself.  I explained that my reason was to alert them to the fact that, in my opinion, this company was using copyright law to extort money from individuals and small businesses and that our legal leadership needed to do something about it.  I pointed her to the web sites cited in my letter as proof that this was wide-spread.

Unfortunately, her response led me to only one conclusion.  "Throw out the incumbent delegates from my state in favor of someone who MIGHT care."

I knew this was too good to be true.  But it just means a longer fight.  I do think a deluge of letters to Congressmen might move this up the priority ranks a bit.  If anyone has the time and inclination, please help me take this message (in your own words) to Congress.

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #58 on: July 30, 2012, 01:01:24 PM »
Who is your Congress critter? 

Someone may be able to start a online petition and get signatures. To do that, we need to first figure out what concrete changes we would like to see made.  I imagine we might want to see specific requirements:
  • for contents of demand letters,
  • for behaviors during negotiation. ( Those demanding $$ should be required to show proof of registration and proof that they are the proper party.)
  • penalties if they hire a collection agency when no judgement exists.
    • requirement that the company inform people if they have conceded no copyright violation. (For example: my last letter exchange was in January.  Sam Brown stated ".... is still under review in our department".  I think it's about time they respond to my previous letter either providing the evidence I requested or telling me they have dropped the notion of escalating this if I don't pay.

    I for one would like to see demand letters be required to include the copyright registration number if it exists or state that it does not exist if it does not. They should also be required to provide proof a licensing contract exists listing the relevant clauses pertaining to the image in question.

    I think the law should state that if monetary demand is requested prior to provision of copyright registration information or evidence that a contract is in place the person who is accused of copyright violation should be automatically granted 50% of financial amount requested even if it turns out the person demanding the money had a valid registration and a copyright infraction occurred. These moneys could, of course, be deducted from whatever a judge grants the entity demanding the payment for the infraction. (This would mean that if Getty requested $800 for an images but did not provide copyright registration information that really is only worth $40 and then filed, the judge could give Getty whatever is the minimum the infraction warrants -- which could be $200--  and then simultaneously award the plaintiff $400. In that case, the plaintiff ends up with $800/2 - $200 = $200! Getty ends up out of pocket on this!)

    Also: in the event that a knowingly false information is provided, a company would be penalized for fraud.

    Moreover, if the case goes to court and the registration either does not exist or is flawed, the recipient should be granted twice the amount requested in the demand letter.

    I think this would protect author and copyright owners interests just fine. They could still send out all the letter they wanted. They could send take downs with difficulty at all. They could still also negotiate for  penalties.  They would just need to provide some paper work before requesting any money.

    But that's just me.

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2012, 08:21:28 PM »
Lucia,

To answer your question my Congress critter for my district is Michael Turner and my Senator is Rob Portman. I like the idea of an online petition but I think you may get more bang for your buck sending a letter to your districts Congressman and Senator. I approach my letter a little differently, rather than asking for or suggesting changes in the way these letters are sent out I have gone for the approach that would Getty Images is doing is nothing less than extortion. Letter victims like myself who state they feel that a simple cease and desist letter is all that is required but are willing to talk and negotiate to reach a settlement amicably and only request that they send proof of claim to continue negotiations but are refused at every turn. When lawsuits or threatened in your told proof will only be provided through the discovery process it these outrageous damage claims are still demanded this fits the definition of extortion.

I also let them know that Getty Images only seems to pick on individuals, small businesses and mom-and-pop companies they never have the balls to go after companies that actually have legal staff to defend them and will make a stand. In the Atty. Gen. complaints that Robert provided there was an instance where gentlemen received a letter over an image and he replied that the image was part of a website he purchased through Intuit Getty told him it didn't matter it was there image and to pay us. The gentleman wrote to intuit who responded to him saying we will handle it and the next thing you know the Atty. Gen. is receiving a letter from Getty Images saying we consider this case closed thank you for your time and attention. It is amazing how quickly Getty's tune changes when there's actually legal staff there and the company has the resources to fight.

I have seen online petitions where you enter your zip code and it pulls up your districts Congressman and Senator and have signed such online petitions in the past. These were all done at the EFF website. I still feel that a personal letter signed by the individual dropped in the mail has a greater effect if done properly.

Who is your Congress critter? 

Someone may be able to start a online petition and get signatures. To do that, we need to first figure out what concrete changes we would like to see made.  I imagine we might want to see specific requirements:
  • for contents of demand letters,
  • for behaviors during negotiation. ( Those demanding $$ should be required to show proof of registration and proof that they are the proper party.)
  • penalties if they hire a collection agency when no judgement exists.
    • requirement that the company inform people if they have conceded no copyright violation. (For example: my last letter exchange was in January.  Sam Brown stated ".... is still under review in our department".  I think it's about time they respond to my previous letter either providing the evidence I requested or telling me they have dropped the notion of escalating this if I don't pay.

    I for one would like to see demand letters be required to include the copyright registration number if it exists or state that it does not exist if it does not. They should also be required to provide proof a licensing contract exists listing the relevant clauses pertaining to the image in question.

    I think the law should state that if monetary demand is requested prior to provision of copyright registration information or evidence that a contract is in place the person who is accused of copyright violation should be automatically granted 50% of financial amount requested even if it turns out the person demanding the money had a valid registration and a copyright infraction occurred. These moneys could, of course, be deducted from whatever a judge grants the entity demanding the payment for the infraction. (This would mean that if Getty requested $800 for an images but did not provide copyright registration information that really is only worth $40 and then filed, the judge could give Getty whatever is the minimum the infraction warrants -- which could be $200--  and then simultaneously award the plaintiff $400. In that case, the plaintiff ends up with $800/2 - $200 = $200! Getty ends up out of pocket on this!)

    Also: in the event that a knowingly false information is provided, a company would be penalized for fraud.

    Moreover, if the case goes to court and the registration either does not exist or is flawed, the recipient should be granted twice the amount requested in the demand letter.

    I think this would protect author and copyright owners interests just fine. They could still send out all the letter they wanted. They could send take downs with difficulty at all. They could still also negotiate for  penalties.  They would just need to provide some paper work before requesting any money.

    But that's just me.
[/list]
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

 

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