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ELI Forums => Getty Images Letter Forum => Topic started by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 18, 2012, 07:25:14 PM

Title: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 18, 2012, 07:25:14 PM
Note: I have gone back and edited this first message to include all responses and replies to date.

On July 3 of this year I conducted an experiment just to see what would happen. I have already come forward and reveal myself on the Eli forums and I know that Getty monitors these forums so they are aware of me. In an attempt to end Getty's claim against me I sent them a letter outlining a campaign I was preparing to start unless they drop their claim. While not knowing whether they would react by dropping the claim, doing nothing or making some more aggressive move towards me I figured what have I got to lose as Getty is going to do whatever it wants. In true Getty fashion when I sent my letter to them I gave them a generous 14 days to cancel their claim before I started my campaign and I assured them that this was not an idle threat but a promise. Yesterday at the close of business was there deadline and I logged onto their site which still shows that I owe the money and are choosing to ignore my letter. I have just finished packaging up and ready to drop off in the mail tomorrow complaint letters filed with the Washington state Atty. Gen.'s office, the Ohio State Atty. Gen.'s office, the Washington State Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, my districts senator and congressman along with their Ohio State counterparts as well as a letter to the office of the president of the United States. I will also be working on sending out these tips much as April Brown has done in her campaign against team Linda trying to get on local and national radio and television programs warning people about the dangers of using images that do not belong to them or have been acquired from government sites. While on these interviews I will be sure to mention in addition to the warnings the business model that Getty has chosen to operate by in the way that they are attempting to extort money from individuals, mom-and-pop businesses and small businesses by using unrealistic and unenforceable deadlines for payment, refusing to provide proof of claim and the fear of eminent legal action.

In my letter I informed my Getty copyright compliance specialist Douglas Bieker of all of these things. I also told him that I knew the next step in the process should he choose not to release his claim would be to send the file over to NCS and out of the goodness of my heart and trying to save him time and money I was including a letter which he could forward to NCS along with my file explaining that this was a claim and not a debt, I have been trying to resolve this with Getty and they are never to contact me. I then informed Mr. Bieker that after NCS the file would most likely go to their lawyer Timothy B McCormack of McCormack IP law and that when he passes the file to him to please make sure he is aware that if I receive so much as one word from him or his pleasance legal staff without all the proof and documentation I have been requesting as to Getty's claim that a similar round of letters against Mr. McCormack to all of the recipients I mentioned above with the addition of the Washington, Oregon and Idaho State Bar associations which are the three states he is licensed in. Again as above these are not idle threats but very sincere promises.

My letter writing campaign will not end with this first round of letters. If I do not receive responses from the recipients above a second round of letters will go out within a reasonable timeframe, also since Getty has offered itself up for sale and there is a public list on the Internet a potential buyers a round of letters will be going out by the end of the week to all of the potential buyers warning them of the dangers in investing in Getty. They will be informed of Getty's current business model and encouraged to do Google searches as well as come and visit Eli to see how Getty treats people. As they most likely already know will remind them that Getty is currently facing a $12 million class-action lawsuit in Israel for the current business practices and momentum is growing for similar lawsuits in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. I will let them know that unless they are planning to purchase this company with the intent of cleaning house and correcting a failing business model that they may wish to invest their monies with companies that do not make a habit of trying to extort money and anger potential customers around the entire globe.

I will be posting my letters to Getty as well as a few of my complaint letters which are all pretty much the same but just modified to be appropriate for the person or entity they are being sent to for review. Please keep in mind that as a letter writer I have nowhere near the skill of a Matthew Chan but my goal was to come across as sincere and believable while telling my story in such a way that I hope the reader would choose to try to assist me.

I am making this experiment public as well as sharing my letters in the hope more people will join me and to show that you can fight back, if enough people are writing letters especially to the Atty. Gen.'s office, the Federal Trade Commission and their congressmen and senators then perhaps one of them will take notice and call Getty out on what they are doing.

Again I hope others will realize that as long as we sit back and do nothing, keep silent and not fight back Getty and the other stock photo companies that have chosen to participate in this business model will continue to thrive. With recent court rulings, sanctions and judgments the tide is starting to turn in the favor of sanity and while the stock photo companies are back on their heels and all of this is still recent and fresh I feel it is the perfect time for a letter writing campaign to see if we can get entities other than the courts to join into the fight.

Here are the Letters between Myself and Getty Images:

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

Here are copies of the complaint letters that I sent out along with any replies and follow-up responses. To date complaint letters have been sent to the Washington State Attorney General's Office, the Washington State Better Business Bureau, the Ohio State Attorney General’s Office, Congressman Michael Turner, Senator Rob Portman and the Federal Trade Commission.

https://www.scribd.com/collections/3777301/Complaint-letters-filed-against-Getty-Images
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on July 18, 2012, 07:46:01 PM
Awesome, Greg!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on July 18, 2012, 07:52:48 PM
Damn! you deserve something....don't know what but something.

and for troll Beiker
(https://timlobrien.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/troll-mooning2.jpg?w=529)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 18, 2012, 07:57:49 PM
Thanks guys, I appreciate the vote of support.  Like I said this is just the beginning and I must admit I really did have fun writing that last letter to Bieker, especially the NCS and Timmy parts ;)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 18, 2012, 08:07:40 PM
The Article you suggest to me looks great on what I have read so far, it is around 54 pages and I did not have time to digest it and work it in to this round of letters.  It will be included in round two for sure and thanks for the link, that is good stuff!

Awesome, Greg!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on July 18, 2012, 08:45:32 PM
Nice. I love it when troll letter recipients bite back.

'Course GI is in a no-win situation. If they comply and send you an official notice releasing you of any liability, they risk you sharing that success story with the rest of the community. If they stay the course, it is clear that you will make it your personal mission to "out" their practices. But meanwhile I'm sure you will encourage many others to follow this path. So this could spawn dozens or hundreds of other complaint.

Poor, poor GI.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 18, 2012, 09:24:46 PM
Jerry, really?!?  Me share this with the ELI community! ;)

(http://i48.tinypic.com/16h1zio.jpg)

I am a man of my word though and I would not have sent out the letters, but would have shared my results and encouraged others.

I realize the situation I was putting Getty in but hope to encourage a favorable outcome by sending the letter to my personal copyright compliance specialist and naming him personally along with Getty Images in my complaints. I am quite comfortable in making it personal as he is an active participant in his company's business model and the "I was just following orders" or "I was just doing my job"in my opinion holds no weight. I am a remodeler and a handyman if a customer were to ask me to make a substandard and/or unsafe repair I would refuse. Not one person in their right mind would excuse me if something happened and I said I was just following the customer's request. So every complaint letter that I write I will be naming Mr. Bieker along with the company he works for and exposing their business practices.

Nice. I love it when troll letter recipients bite back.

'Course GI is in a no-win situation. If they comply and send you an official notice releasing you of any liability, they risk you sharing that success story with the rest of the community. If they stay the course, it is clear that you will make it your personal mission to "out" their practices. But meanwhile I'm sure you will encourage many others to follow this path. So this could spawn dozens or hundreds of other complaint.

Poor, poor GI.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: fighting_masterfile on July 18, 2012, 10:34:32 PM
Nice work!  We need to do the same against the others - Masterfile, Han and other trolls.  It is time to get the laws changed and run them out and force them to do the paperwork correctly. 
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 18, 2012, 10:39:10 PM
Round one is ready to go out in the morning, I couldn't fit them all in the photo :D.

http://i45.tinypic.com/ivixx3.jpg
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Peeved on July 18, 2012, 11:12:15 PM
Lol..totally awesome Greg!

BRAVA!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 18, 2012, 11:21:08 PM
Thank you Ms. Peeved! :)

Lol..totally awesome Greg!

BRAVA!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on July 19, 2012, 10:07:26 AM
Greg, you inspire me.  It's time to get started writing some letters of my own.  Is it ok if I post them in your thread?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: SoylentGreen on July 19, 2012, 11:30:44 AM
Great work indeed!!
Those extortionists are so predictable!!

(http://i41.tinypic.com/2zz3vdg.gif)

S.G.

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 19, 2012, 12:34:15 PM
Absolutely!  My goal is to get as many people as possible to join in on the letter writing campaign. Thanks!

Greg, you inspire me.  It's time to get started writing some letters of my own.  Is it ok if I post them in your thread?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on July 19, 2012, 03:14:44 PM
You know Greg, this was a lot easier than I thought.  Here is my letter:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/100538612/Congressman-Letter-s-July-19-2012-for-Scribd

just printed and about to be mailed to two Senators and one Congressman.  Again, Greg thanks for the inspiration.

And I encourage everyone to do the same.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Khan on July 19, 2012, 04:22:34 PM
 "Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendo"

Khan
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on July 19, 2012, 05:15:52 PM
"Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendo"

Khan

Amen.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on July 19, 2012, 05:31:57 PM
"Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendo"

Khan

adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 19, 2012, 08:26:54 PM
Thank you!

"Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendo"

Khan
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 19, 2012, 08:30:34 PM
Absolutley correct and I hope many more will add to this!

"Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendo"

Khan

adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 19, 2012, 08:36:21 PM
That is great Stinger, don't stop there keep sending them out. The Washington State AG and Illinois State AG offices would be a great next step.  Thanks for joining in, if enough people send out these letters sooner or later they will take notice especially in an election year.

You know Greg, this was a lot easier than I thought.  Here is my letter:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/100538612/Congressman-Letter-s-July-19-2012-for-Scribd

just printed and about to be mailed to two Senators and one Congressman.  Again, Greg thanks for the inspiration.

And I encourage everyone to do the same.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 20, 2012, 08:18:30 AM
I just had a thought, after this round of letters to the buyers of Getty I will start sending letters out to the major news networks.  Whenever I actually have time to watch the news it disgusts me as about 25% of the time the image behind the talking head says either "Courtesy of Getty Images" or just plain "Getty Images".  I am going to let them know that as long as they are getting their images from a company that uses extortion as a business model I will not shop their sponsors.  I will also send letters to any sponsor of a newscast I see that has the Getty Images tag on a photo.

This is one where I will definitely need your help with as the sponsors will not listen to one lone letter writer.  I will post sponsors and addresses as I find them or if you all see a sponsor you can list it here and I will be happy to do the leg work to get the address of where to write.  I work so much it is hard for me to be here for the evening news.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on July 20, 2012, 10:05:58 PM
ESPN appears to have some connection with Getty Images. Many of the images on ESPN Wire are attributed to Getty Images:

http://espn.go.com/espn/photos/wire/_/id/10/mlb

ESPN is one of the planet's largest television networks. They have channels all over the world in different languages. They may not be aware of Getty Images' embarrassing shakedown program and may not like being associated with that kind of stuff.

It would be interesting to hear ESPN's comments on Getty's extortion letter program. ESPN is a very jealous guardian of its own trademarks and copyrights and works extensively with organizations that are also extremely sensitive about intellectual property.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 20, 2012, 11:38:50 PM
Whoa, I know they deadline I gave to Getty has come and gone and I have started the campaign I promised but something interesting just happened.  I decided to go back to the Getty site and enter my information again not expecting to see any change and it no longer takes me to the payment page.  It stays on the same page and tells me that “This case is not available for online payment.”

It doesn’t say that the case is cleared or closed just not available for payment.  Any thoughts?

(http://i46.tinypic.com/fly3bn.jpg)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Matthew Chan on July 20, 2012, 11:50:55 PM
I say to try it again during various times especially during the workweek during normal business hours. It's possible the system is down for maintenance or after-hours.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 20, 2012, 11:54:02 PM
Will do, it will be interesting to see what it does.  Hopefully it will kick over to case closed but I doubt it.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on July 21, 2012, 01:26:37 PM
Or they've decided to file.

 :'( 

But don't worry. If that is the case I have a feeling you have enough friends around here that would be willing to help out. I know I'd kick in what I could to the Greg Troy defense fund.

 ;D
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 21, 2012, 07:23:49 PM
Thanks guy, I appreciate that.  If they think I am fighting hard now they have no idea what would happen if they try to take me to court.  I think I would have to do an Aloha Plastic Surgery on them and file a counter suit.

Hopefully they are just deciding to let it go, I am a man of my word and if they drop their claim I will stop my campaign.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: SoylentGreen on July 21, 2012, 07:32:03 PM
My personal opinion is that even if a troll decided to file, they'd never intentionally take the option to pay off the table.
It would be very bad if a troll made it impossible for an alleged infringer to settle.
Also, now we have the screen capture... lol.

S.G.

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 21, 2012, 09:02:11 PM
The image in question in my case is part of the Stone Collection with 97K+ images, the actual owners of the image are GK and Vikki Hart and from what I can find out online all of their animal photos were registered in bulk, add to the fact they refused to provide the proof requested and in my letters I said I would be happy to discuss this matter as long as they would show proof. With the recent Masterfile case, Getty’s already poor reputation in court I really think they would be asking for it if they were to try taking it to court. 
The wording of the message is what is weird and hard to interpret because I remember that Loserboy posted he paid 100 bucks and settled, his message said something like - Thank you for your inquiry and payment, we consider this case closed – or something to that effect, I do remember his message said the case was closed though.

@SG I have the screen capture safe and sound. ;)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Matthew Chan on July 21, 2012, 10:19:10 PM
That would be the dumbest thing they could ever do to go after an ELI community member especially someone who "outed" himself.

If they did this, ELI would be put on the media map in a big way, not simply a little niche website tucked away in a corner.

Filing a lawsuit would have a ton of publicity possibilities if done correctly.

Essentially the way I would paint this picture is that a corporate conglomerate vs. a local handyman.  Envision a picture of office suits within a skyscraper towering over a guy with a hammer and screwdriver.

Publicity possibilities are endless.

Personally, I think that he might have caught it during systems maintenance phase. He will find out come Monday.

Or they've decided to file.

 :'( 

But don't worry. If that is the case I have a feeling you have enough friends around here that would be willing to help out. I know I'd kick in what I could to the Greg Troy defense fund.

 ;D
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 21, 2012, 10:24:29 PM
Actually I just check that while you were typing this message and it still says the same thing. Just to see what would happen I altered my case number by one number and hit enter in a immediately popped up with a message saying that I should contact the Getty compliance department.

I will take my tablet to work with me on Monday and checked again at lunchtime and I'll let everyone know what it says.

That would be the dumbest thing they could ever do to go after an ELI community member especially someone who "outed" himself.

If they did this, ELI would be put on the media map in a big way, not simply a little niche website tucked away in a corner.

Filing a lawsuit would have a ton of publicity possibilities if done correctly.

Essentially the way I would paint this picture is that a corporate conglomerate vs. a local handyman.  Envision a picture of office suits within a skyscraper towering over a guy with a hammer and screwdriver.

Publicity possibilities are endless.

Personally, I think that he might have caught it during systems maintenance phase. He will find out come Monday.

Or they've decided to file.

 :'( 

But don't worry. If that is the case I have a feeling you have enough friends around here that would be willing to help out. I know I'd kick in what I could to the Greg Troy defense fund.

 ;D
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 23, 2012, 01:09:57 PM
Okay, I just logged on and checked the status of my case and it still says the same thing. I am not sure what to make of it, suggestions or ideas?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on July 23, 2012, 01:45:30 PM
I'll bite...
Mr Bieker in between spending time at the soup kitchen, got your letter, and handed it to his boss, who then read it and handed it to his boss, the letter eventually landed on Lisa Wilmers desk, where it sits in limbo awaiting some kind of decision..Perhaps you'll get a letter from getty's other outside coucil ( whose name escapes me), since they were not named in your deadline letter..
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 23, 2012, 02:09:44 PM
I did not know that Getty has another outside council, but if I get a letter from anyone without ALL the proof I requested then an additional set of letters will go out against Getty and whoever sends it.  I am going to wait a bit before sending out the next round of letters while I see what develops and to wait for the AG complaints as follow up letters will be sent including a CD of 1200 pages of complaints to reinforce my request for investigation into Getty's extortion practices.  >:(

I'll bite...
Mr Bieker in between spending time at the soup kitchen, got your letter, and handed it to his boss, who then read it and handed it to his boss, the letter eventually landed on Lisa Wilmers desk, where it sits in limbo awaiting some kind of decision..Perhaps you'll get a letter from getty's other outside coucil ( whose name escapes me), since they were not named in your deadline letter..
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 23, 2012, 07:45:47 PM
While doing some online research on my Getty penpal buddy Douglas J. Bieker I came across this page posted by someone else who seems a little irritated with Mr. Bieker. This makes me feel better as I did not want to think I was unfairly singling him out ::)  ;)

http://www.appleseedcommunications.com/pages/publicrelations.html
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on July 23, 2012, 07:50:37 PM
While doing some online research on my Getty penpal buddy Douglas J. Bieker I came across this page posted by someone else who seems a little irritated with Mr. Bieker. This makes me feel better as I did not want to think I was unfairly singling him out ::)  ;)

http://www.appleseedcommunications.com/pages/publicrelations.html

nice find, but I must say the author of this page was way to kind!...maybe i'll do a little rooting around, see what I can come up with in regards to Mr Bieker
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Matthew Chan on July 23, 2012, 10:52:57 PM
It turns out whoever posted that page is correct.  It was eventually picked up by Google and indexed on Mr. Bieker's name no less! LOL.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 23, 2012, 11:01:28 PM
Yeah, that's how I found it :D

It turns out whoever posted that page is correct.  It was eventually picked up by Google and indexed on Mr. Bieker's name no less! LOL.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on July 24, 2012, 08:58:52 AM
I agree with BuddhaPi - the author was being much too kind!  These guys know the flaws in what they are doing.  They also know that revenue in is a function of # of letters sent out.  They just want to maximize letters.  And I'll bet they don't refund any money if someone sends them a check and then asks for their money back because they did not violate any licensing issues.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: SoylentGreen on July 24, 2012, 11:24:17 AM
I personally have never seen a distinction between a "demo page" and "an actual website" in copyright law.
I guess that one could say that "damages" were minimal due to the non-commercial nature of a "demo page".
Correct me if I'm wrong.

But, yeah, Getty lies and tries to steal from people.

S.G.

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 24, 2012, 04:13:10 PM
I just received my first response from the complaint letters I sent out, it was from the BBB in Washington State.  They have accepted the complaint and sent the complaint to Lisa Willmer at Getty for response.  I have an access code to log into the Washington BBB site to check on the progress.  I will check daily for updates and keep everyone posted if anything changes.

I also checked on the Getty site and my case still say that it is not available for online payment.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Mulligan on July 24, 2012, 04:58:30 PM
Not surprisingly, Getty Images in Seattle, Washington, is not Better Business Bureau accredited. Here's a link to the Seattle BBB page on Getty:

http://www.bbb.org/western-washington/business-reviews/photographs-stock/getty-images-in-seattle-wa-37000916

I found interesting the following comment by the BBB on the above page:

BBB has received a pattern of complaints from consumers alleging Getty Images Inc accuses them of copyright infringement. Consumers claim they were not aware of the copyrights of the digital images they used on their Web sites. Consumers further allege after they remove the images from their Web sites, the company continues to demand money and/or threatens legal action.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 24, 2012, 05:07:33 PM
I had seen that and thanks for sharing the link, in my complaint besides demanding release of claim I also said that I thought the C rating was a bit on the high side for a company with that many complaints and that should be reviewed as well.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on July 25, 2012, 10:33:15 AM
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!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) 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!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) 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..
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) 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.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) 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
.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) 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!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia 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.)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) 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.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Canada Bob 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?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) 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.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) 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.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) 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.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) 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.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger 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.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia 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:
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) 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]
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 30, 2012, 08:35:54 PM
Stinger,

I would offer one suggestion for any future letters or to anyone else writing a letter to their senator or congressman. I would share as much detail as you can about your personal case and tell your story is if you're telling your friend trying to win them over. While I am all for including the links to websites as support for your claim you still need to give a detailed story an account of what is happened to you, why it is unjust and how it fits the definition of extortion.

I also highly recommend sending these letters to your Senator's and Congressman's local office not the Washington office. The Washington office is deluged with mail from all over while your local office will take more interest in dealing with a letter from a voter in that local district as they are local themselves. Again you want to write your letter in an effort to win over the letter recipient and make them want to pass it on to the next higher level. If you send them a letter saying this is wrong go research it at these websites for proof they generally have neither the time nor inclination to do this as I am sure their desk is covered with letters that must be opened and sorted and processed in their job is to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible.

You may receive one rejection or you may receive a lot of rejections you cannot let that discourage you and must continue to keep fighting and keep sending letters until someone takes notice. I promise you it does happen and you will see results. Just be diligent and keep plugging away at it.

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.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on July 31, 2012, 09:16:55 AM
Interesting Greg.  The whole reason that I didn't put a lot of detail in my letter was that I didn't want them to think that I wanted them to solve my issue.  I wanted them to realize that this is a very large (read national in scope) issue.  My situation, I can handle.  Instead, they read that I wanted them to intervene in my case.

I really like the idea of sending the letters to a local office.  I guess that is my next step.

i like the online petition idea.  With some of the Search Engine Optimization skills we have on this site, we could probably drive lots of people to the petitions.

My letters went to:
The Honorable
Peter Roskam
The Honorable
Richard Durbin
The Honorable
Mark Kirk
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on July 31, 2012, 12:56:08 PM
In your next round of letters be sure to send them to your local offices and I would include the Washington AG office, the FTC, BBB and your states AG office. I would focus on the extortion angle while being honest and sincere telling your story as described above. Please keep me posted on your progress.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia on July 31, 2012, 10:02:02 PM
My letters went to:
The Honorable
Peter Roskam
The Honorable
Richard Durbin
The Honorable
Mark Kirk
Both Kirk and Roskam? My rep is Judy Biggert.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on August 01, 2012, 12:25:22 PM
Pachomovsky and Stein discuss several possible remedies for the reform of current copyright law, which include punitive damages. You will find their suggestions towards the end of their paper:

http://www.law.uconn.edu/files/Stein.pdf

Specifically, they make this comment:

Quote
We propose that courts be given broad discretion to rule in appropriate cases that litigants have acted in bad faith or misused their legal rights.

There is some opportunity to lobby for the reform to other congresspersons. Something similar was going to be included with the Orphan Works Amendment. This proposed legislation is an attempt to correct copyright law to protect the good faith user in the case of so-called "orphan works". This protection could be tailored in such a way that it also protects good faith innocent infringers from legalized extortion and frivolous "strategic litigation."

Here's a short read about the Copyright Office's position on the Orphan Works Amendment:

http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/

This is a particularly important statement made by the Copyright Office:

Quote
... one of the basic tenets of the legislation is that the available remedy will be proportionate to the nature of the infringement. Reasonable compensation, a standard derived from a leading case on copyright damages, will usually be within the range an owner could expect to recover in an ordinary infringement suit.  And it should certainly reflect a reasonable license fee.

Unfortunately, the bill was passed by the Senate but it died in the House of Representatives:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/s2913

The congressmen who spearheaded the Orphan Works Amendment would be Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy. They may be interested in reading about the abuse of "strategic litigation" that has grown like an epidemic since this bill failed about 3 years ago.

Here's their info:

Orrin Hatch: http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2008/5/hatch-works-to-further-bill-named-after-utahn-shawn-bentley

Patrick Leahy: http://www.leahy.senate.gov/press/senate-passes-leahy-sponsored-orphan-works-bill

The Copyright Office would probably be very interested in your complaints as well:

http://www.copyright.gov/help/index.html#mailing

Thanks for your letter-writing efforts. I do think those have an effect because I've seen it work for other campaigns.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 01, 2012, 10:23:02 PM
Great post Moe! There's a lot of good information contained in it and I have skimmed through it but plan to go back over it in depth this weekend.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 02, 2012, 01:35:13 AM
Well Getty responded today to my complaint filed with the Washington State Better Business Bureau. It was there typical form letter BS that they use when replying to any agency forwarding a complaint to them. It ended with the usual paragraph stating that Mr. Troy did not provide a valid defense yada yada yada, but I was able to catch them and call them out on some glaring omissions and out right lies that when put back in make my defense more than valid. Below you can find the original complaint letter, Getty's response and my reply to their response.

I also love the fact that they got my company name wrong it is Yeah We Do That not Yeah We Can Do That. They also got the amount they are asking for wrong they put in they want $8750 whereas their claim is for $875. Douglas Bieker in Getty Images are asshats and morons.

All of the documentation including the original letter, Getty's response and my reply to their response may be found here:

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

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on August 02, 2012, 06:49:12 AM
Nice reply, something like this should also go to the AG to be added to the public record even thought they consider the case closed after Getty's response..
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 02, 2012, 08:42:05 AM
Thanks Robert!

Everyone will get replies and follow-up letters.  I think all future complaint letters when round 2 starts up should end with:

"....and at this time Getty has not provided any valid proof of their claim....."
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on August 02, 2012, 10:07:54 AM
Well done Greg!

Keep Fighting!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on August 02, 2012, 10:25:08 AM
Yes Lucia, it looks like we are neighbors.  I live in Oak Brook.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on August 02, 2012, 12:05:38 PM
Very nice, Greg! All points well made.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia on August 02, 2012, 07:54:32 PM
I'm in Lisle. Given how large the districts are I wasn't sure how far you would be. My mom is in Libertyville. My sisters are in Highland Park and New Lenox.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Oscar Michelen on August 05, 2012, 08:56:28 PM
Nicely done Greg.  Even if the AG closes the case its worth making Getty go on record and have to address these complaints in writing.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 05, 2012, 10:29:45 PM
Thank you Oscar, my goal is to show people that you don't have to sit there and take it as there are plenty of things you can do to fight back in the letter writing campaign is one. While I agree with you that the AG will most likely close the case my complaint will make at least number 58 and at some point we will reach a tipping point where they will investigate. The more people I can get on board and the more letters that go out the sooner this will happen.

Nicely done Greg.  Even if the AG closes the case its worth making Getty go on record and have to address these complaints in writing.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 05, 2012, 10:38:05 PM
Here is an update as to the latest in my letter writing campaign. I have heard back this week from the Ohio State Attorney Gen.'s office who declined to look at my information as they thought I was asking them to act as my Attorney. I am sending them a reply letting them know that that is not my intent and asking them to please look at the information and consider investigating Getty Images.

Just a note for those of you who are considering or have started their own letter writing campaign this type of response is not uncommon in should not be considered a setback. Any time I get a letter like this I will immediately send out a follow-up letter thanking them and asking them to reconsider.

For those that are interested I am providing links to the letter I received from the AG's office as well as my response.

https://www.scribd.com/collections/3777301/Complaint-letters-filed-against-Getty-Images

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on August 06, 2012, 12:05:26 AM
Great stuff, Greg. The transparency of your campaign makes a stark contrast with the secrecy the trolls like to operate in. Thanks for sharing your progress with the forum.

I did have trouble viewing the Ohio Attorney General's letter. For some reason I got a blank page. I was able to read your response to them; nice work lobbying for an investigation of Getty's "strategic litigation" model.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 06, 2012, 08:12:19 AM
Thanks Moe and I will check the link and re-upload the document when I get home from work tonight.

Great stuff, Greg. The transparency of your campaign makes a stark contrast with the secrecy the trolls like to operate in. Thanks for sharing your progress with the forum.

I did have trouble viewing the Ohio Attorney General's letter. For some reason I got a blank page. I was able to read your response to them; nice work lobbying for an investigation of Getty's "strategic litigation" model.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on August 06, 2012, 03:12:31 PM
Update on my letter writing situation:  I received a response from my Senator requesting me to sign a Privacy Act Release form.  Apparently they use this to speak to other government agencies about my situation.  I responded with the form and a letter further detailing my situation and letting them know that I included that only for informational purposes.  I do not want them to solve my situation.  I want them to find a way to prevent large companies and their law firms from using copyright law as a business plan against small companies.

I hope this turns into something more than just a paper pushing exercise.  I expect it could if we all wrote our Congressmen asking for the same thing.  When one person expresses an idea, they can just go through the motions.  When hundreds make the same request naming company names and law firm names, it might be a little harder to ignore.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia on August 06, 2012, 05:32:55 PM
Stinger-- Did you get the letter from Kirk? Or Durbin?  I was putting off writing until I heard back from getting again. But I could write one to which ever seems to be moving along on this.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on August 06, 2012, 05:41:33 PM
Lucia - I got it from Kirk.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 06, 2012, 08:06:28 PM
Moe,

I have re-upload the document and corrected the link on the post, the document should be available for viewing now. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

Great stuff, Greg. The transparency of your campaign makes a stark contrast with the secrecy the trolls like to operate in. Thanks for sharing your progress with the forum.

I did have trouble viewing the Ohio Attorney General's letter. For some reason I got a blank page. I was able to read your response to them; nice work lobbying for an investigation of Getty's "strategic litigation" model.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 06, 2012, 08:10:19 PM
lucia,

If you're going to write a letter to your Congressman or whoever I would recommend approaching the letter from the angle that what Getty is doing is extortion since they refuse to provide proof, threaten legal action and harass. I would also name in addition to Getty Images who ever your Getty copyright compliance penpal is. I think you will find this may give you the best results in the most bang for your buck.

Stinger-- Did you get the letter from Kirk? Or Durbin?  I was putting off writing until I heard back from getting again. But I could write one to which ever seems to be moving along on this.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 06, 2012, 10:48:42 PM
Tonight I also received a letter from the Washington State Atty. Gen.'s office stating that Getty has replied to my complaint. What is interesting is that this is the exact same response letter that they sent to the Washington state Better Business Bureau. I know this as this letter has the same to errors in it that their reply to the Better Business Bureau had. The first error is they have my company name wrong in the second error is once again they have the demand amount wrong. In their response they are claiming their demand amount is $8750 as opposed to the actual demand amount of $875.

This just shows the lack of concern and how frivolously Getty Images and their copyright compliance team members Douglas Bieker and the rest take these complaints from the Atty. Gen.'s office and the Better Business Bureau that they can't even take the time to proofread their responses.

Below if you are interested is the link to the reply as well as my response.

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

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on August 07, 2012, 06:31:22 AM
Typical form letter from Getty, skirting the issues, not addressing anything, and claiming the recipient has shown no valid defenses.. I think it's high time we put on our collective thinking caps and conatct the Attorney General himself ( not his clerks) I may be calling April Brown on this, she lives near Seattle, it's an election year, and the AG would surely like another vote, he might just speak with her...Just need to get a solid plan of action together. IT's time that someone, somewhere look into the fact that Getty Images continues to avoid backing up their claims.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on August 07, 2012, 08:51:39 AM
Robert, I like the way you think!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Khan on August 07, 2012, 05:37:57 PM
And do not forget to inform the media that you are going to speak with her ;)

Khan
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: danaisle on August 10, 2012, 10:15:33 AM
Hi Folks! Just wrote to my senators. Feel free to copy and paste if you like:

Dear Sen. XXX,

I am writing to bring to your attention an egregious practice of habitual extortion against small businesses by the photo archive company known as Getty Images. These people search web sites for images that may or may not be theirs, and threaten people like myself, demanding huge amounts of money for damages and copyright violations without any proof of their claims. This is not an isolated incident. Thousands of small businesses are continually harassed by these people without cause or evidence.

Getty Images' abuse of copyright law to attempt extortion of funds from honest small business owners like myself is predatory and a huge waste of time and resources, having to answer to unsubstantiated charges and defending our businesses and reputations.

I would be happy to provide you with further information and resources to pursue this. I sincerely hope someone will. This has depleted the energies of thousands of people, hindering the productivity and quality of life honest, hard-working business people.

Thanks for your attention in this matter.

Sincerely,
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: gtilflm on August 10, 2012, 11:48:16 AM
Hi all.  Long-time reader, first time poster......

I too sent a complaint to the WA ATG and received a response back from Getty.  It seemed to be somewhat of a form letter, but there were specific details filled in.  Of course, no proof of copyright ownership/representation or an explanation of their demand amount, but that goes without saying. 

Is there a way to find out how many claims have been filed against them with the ATG office?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on August 10, 2012, 12:03:39 PM
Hi all.  Long-time reader, first time poster......

I too sent a complaint to the WA ATG and received a response back from Getty.  It seemed to be somewhat of a form letter, but there were specific details filled in.  Of course, no proof of copyright ownership/representation or an explanation of their demand amount, but that goes without saying. 

Is there a way to find out how many claims have been filed against them with the ATG office?

AS recent as May of this year there have been almost 60 complaints files, you can find them all here:
http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/getty-images-complaints-on-a-silver-platter/

yes Getty always answers with a generic form letter, and never gives any proof of the claim..typical behavior.. Depending on when you filed your complaint it just might be in this bunch
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: gtilflm on August 10, 2012, 12:06:47 PM
I actually just filed recently and Getty's response was emailed to me yesterday.  So I don't think it's in that pile of 60.

Anyone have an idea on how many similar complaints it takes to form a "trend" for the ATG to investigate?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Mulligan on August 10, 2012, 12:16:31 PM
Anyone have an idea on how many similar complaints it takes to form a "trend" for the ATG to investigate?

The cynic in me says it will take 68,327 complaints before any Attorney General begins to think about taking any action against a company as big and as rich as Getty Images.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on August 10, 2012, 12:23:45 PM
I'm not going to guess at a number, but I will say I am working with another ELI user to put a plan of action together to present something directly to the Wash AG..it's an election year and we may be able to use this to our advantage....i'm hoping our very own April Brown would be willing to assist..
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 10, 2012, 09:44:20 PM
Glad to see that you are joining the letter writing campaign!  I have a couple of suggestions for your letter, you state:

Quote
I am writing to bring to your attention an egregious practice of habitual extortion against small businesses

You do state that this is done without proof but I might change that a bit to explain how they refuse to provide proof when requested.  This is the part that makes it fit the definition of extortion.  They are demanding large sums of money, refuse to provide proof, threaten legal action if not paid, don’t follow through on lawsuit threats.

Also if you have a Getty penpal compliance specialist assigned to you I would name them personally in your complaint as well.  Make your letters personal and tell your story in a way to bring in the person reading and make them want to help you and/or bump it up to the next level.


Hi Folks! Just wrote to my senators. Feel free to copy and paste if you like:

Dear Sen. XXX,

I am writing to bring to your attention an egregious practice of habitual extortion against small businesses by the photo archive company known as Getty Images. These people search web sites for images that may or may not be theirs, and threaten people like myself, demanding huge amounts of money for damages and copyright violations without any proof of their claims. This is not an isolated incident. Thousands of small businesses are continually harassed by these people without cause or evidence.

Getty Images' abuse of copyright law to attempt extortion of funds from honest small business owners like myself is predatory and a huge waste of time and resources, having to answer to unsubstantiated charges and defending our businesses and reputations.

I would be happy to provide you with further information and resources to pursue this. I sincerely hope someone will. This has depleted the energies of thousands of people, hindering the productivity and quality of life honest, hard-working business people.

Thanks for your attention in this matter.

Sincerely,
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on August 13, 2012, 09:10:21 AM
I also think that when you write a letter to your congressman, it's always a good idea to cite the complaints against Getty that Robert has made so easy to get.  This certainly establishes a precedent.  If it is not enough for the AG, maybe it will be enough if enough Senators and Representatives get a chance to look this stuff over.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 13, 2012, 04:37:27 PM
Today I received a response to my complaint letter to the Federal Trade Commission. It is much like the Atty. Gen.'s office and the Better Business Bureau where they will not take on individual cases but keep the file to look for trends. I am posting the link to the response letter if anyone is interested.

https://www.scribd.com/collections/3777301/Complaint-letters-filed-against-Getty-Images

I am also going to go and edit my first post in this thread and add in all of the responses and replies to date so they can be found in one message since this thread is starting to get along.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 13, 2012, 09:41:16 PM
The original message is now up to date will all complaints, responses and replies so you do not have to search the entire thread for them.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on August 23, 2012, 10:29:24 AM
Update:  I just received a letter from my Senator stating that they have contacted the Library of Congress on my behalf with a copy of my correspondence.  Whats interesting is that:

1. I originally contacted them and then was required to fill out a Privacy Act Release form, before passing the paperwork off to where they think it needs to go.
2. In my complaint, I state that "...I initially thought, and now am totally convinced, that Getty Images and McCormack Intellectual Property Law are using copyright laws, as a business plan to extort money from small businesses."
3.  They turned that into, "...regarding your concerns with possible violations of copyright law."

There is a subtle and meaningful change in those words.  I am not sure if that change will help us get attention, or help Getty.  I never said that I thought Getty was breaking the law, only that they are using the laws to make money in ways that lawmakers likely never imagined.  I am not even sure if the change was intentional.

More likely, it's like the game where you tell the first kid in the class a short snippet and it gets repeated, one kid at a time, until it comes out at the back of the room as a completely different story.

Time will tell what comes of this. In the mean time, I encourage everyone who has received a Getty extortion letter to make the Attorney General, your congressmen, and the Library of Congress aware of what is going on here.  There is power in numbers.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on August 23, 2012, 04:13:43 PM
Thanks for the update stinger. At least they're moving the information around, even though they're "softening" your language. Your efforts will bear fruit, especially when combined with other similar complaints calling attention to the issue, and they are certainly appreciated by this community.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 23, 2012, 09:44:30 PM
That is great news stinger, if enough people continue to send out complaint letters to the various agencies sooner or later one of the agencies will reach a tipping point and have enough complaints to act upon them. I recently read an article that was a few years old were Getty admitted to sending out approximately 40,000 of these letters a year which equals right about 770 letters a week. In this article was several years old and if you figure the average Getty letter is for $1000 as the range seems to be from around $800-$1200 that is approximately $40 million a year in troll revenue. I'm sure with  Pic-Scout and the like that number has increased.

In just as a general FYI to everyone I was experimenting with my Scribd account trying to make folders and moved documents into them so the account would be more organized I managed to delete all of my letters. I will be uploading new copies this weekend and then coming back in modifying this post with the new links so that everything will work. So if you are looking for a letter everything should be back up and running by Sunday.

Update:  I just received a letter from my Senator stating that they have contacted the Library of Congress on my behalf with a copy of my correspondence.  Whats interesting is that:

1. I originally contacted them and then was required to fill out a Privacy Act Release form, before passing the paperwork off to where they think it needs to go.
2. In my complaint, I state that "...I initially thought, and now am totally convinced, that Getty Images and McCormack Intellectual Property Law are using copyright laws, as a business plan to extort money from small businesses."
3.  They turned that into, "...regarding your concerns with possible violations of copyright law."

There is a subtle and meaningful change in those words.  I am not sure if that change will help us get attention, or help Getty.  I never said that I thought Getty was breaking the law, only that they are using the laws to make money in ways that lawmakers likely never imagined.  I am not even sure if the change was intentional.

More likely, it's like the game where you tell the first kid in the class a short snippet and it gets repeated, one kid at a time, until it comes out at the back of the room as a completely different story.

Time will tell what comes of this. In the mean time, I encourage everyone who has received a Getty extortion letter to make the Attorney General, your congressmen, and the Library of Congress aware of what is going on here.  There is power in numbers.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 25, 2012, 02:30:10 PM
I have gone back and fixed and enhanced my  Scribd account. I have now created folders it sort of the documents into the correct folders to make viewing easier and save from new links having to be posted every time I send a letter or receive a response. I hope you will find it easier to navigate and I will go and correct the links in my previous posts to reflect the new folders.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 28, 2012, 12:02:02 AM
I have an update to my correspondence with the Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine. I was a little disappointed with my initial complaint letter as the reply back said that they were unable to help me in gave the impression they thought I was asking them to act as my Atty. I sent them a follow-up letter stating that in no way shape or form was I asking them to act on my behalf as I had an attorney if I needed him and was handling the situation myself but was trying to make them aware that Getty Images was conducting what I considered legalized extortion since they were demanding unreasonable sums of money, threatening legal action and at every turn refusing to provide proof of their claim said negotiations could continue. I also let them know that their victims of choice were individuals, mom-and-pop companies and small businesses and they were sending these extortion letters across state lines.

Tonight I received a letter in reply stating that they will now contact Getty about this matter which will now generate the usual Getty form letter response but we have a Getty file going in Ohio now. I encourage any other letter recipients in Ohio to file your complaints not only with the Washington State Atty. Gen.'s office at the Ohio State Atty. Gen.'s office as well.

It is very late so I will get this letter scanned and uploaded to Scribd in the next day or two and provided link if anyone wishes to read it.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on August 28, 2012, 08:50:39 AM
Well done Greg!  One of the things that has frustrated me about this lawmaker letter writing thing, is that they don't really seem to read the letters.  It appears that with a quick glance they categorize them and send out their expected response letter.

I think it really takes tenaciousness to get anything done this way, and I applaud you for sticking with it.  The thing is, we have to work doubly hard, because you know the Getty standard response letter was made for this system.  I am staying on it.  I know you will Greg.  And I hope that everyone else jumps in.  10, 20, 50, or 100 people saying similar things about Getty should cut the legs out of Getty's responses.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 28, 2012, 09:07:53 PM
@Stinger

I am going to cross post this reply into my thread "An Experiment against Getty" as I think it is pertinent there as well. As the thread title suggests this letter writing campaign was an experiment for me to see how the system works, the types of replies I could expect as well as the outcome. From the beginning of the campaign this part was just phase 1 and phase 2 never happened as that was going to be an in-depth campaign of letting potential buyers know what they were getting into if they were to purchase Getty. Unfortunately Getty was sold before that can ramp up.

As I am sure you are well aware this forum is pretty much required reading at Getty and I would rather not discuss in detail all of my plans as I do not want Getty to be able to prepare or possibly counter the next phase of my plan should it become necessary. I have learned an incredible amount about the complaint process and the way the system works and I think it requires a little thinking outside of the box to take it to the next level. I am in contact with Robert on a regular basis and Matthew on a semi regular basis and they are both aware of my plans and how I would do this. I am still working on the final details of this plan as well as still gathering all the information needed for my packet but I feel fairly confident that I could get this packet into the right hands at the Washington State Atty. Gen.'s office as well as my state's attorney general's office and if all goes the way I believe it will. I should even be able to bypass the minions and staffers and get my packet directly into the hands of someone on Capitol Hill.

As far as the packet of information I am assembling I do plan to make a large portion of it available through my Scribd account for those who wish to send complaint letters and join my letter writing campaign. I am not stopping my letter writing campaign, it is just I have sent letters to every agency I said I would and just like with the Ohio Atty. Gen.'s I will continue to send follow-up letters as needed and necessary on my current complaints and I will stay actively involved with the complaints I filed with each agency until the complaint has gone as far as it can go. I will also continue to advocate others to do the same and this is part of the reason why I have made all of communications between Getty and myself and my complaint letters available for all to view.

As Getty is now well aware I mean exactly what I say and I do not make idle threats, exaggerate the truth or flat out lie as Getty does. I should have all of my preparations completed shortly in Getty should know that if I receive one letter from them that another round of these letters will go out to the same places filing additional complaints, in addition this round will contain complaints to the Bar Association against Getty's in-house legal advisor Lisa Wilmer and the packets will then go out and into the hands of the appropriate people. The same applies should Timmy be so foolish as to send me a letter, the complaints would go out against him in addition to Bar Association complaints with the three states he is licensed in and the packets would go out too. The same would apply should Getty have a different lawyer contact me due to a serious case of buttpucker on Timmy's part. I will shortly have everything I need and ready to go so that should a response from me be necessary I can unleash hell on Getty within 24 hours.

The pause in my attack on Getty is actually a result of a very good conversation I had with Matthew where he suggested that I not fire all of my guns at once because if I did and Getty responded I would have nothing left to use. After considering this I am in full agreement with Matthew and have decided to hold the next step in reserve to see if Getty has had enough and wishes to back off or if they would like more and to see what I am really capable of. As I stated in the beginning of this post phase 1 was just an experiment for me to learn how the system works and how to work the system,  I have and I learn quickly. (Since I do not have the proper emoticon to choose from please insert evil grin here)

I hope this answers your question and explains my reasons for the temporary hiatus in my attack on Getty. Rest assured I am not backing down nor am I going away I will remain here and continue my best to try to assist others until ELI is no longer needed.


Greg, I am interested in your means of "getting it passed the clerks and into the proper hands."  Because, Getty may be in a lull with you doesn't means that some of the things in your packet might not be useful to others here.

If there were a sure fire way to get it passed the clerks, I think a lot of us would want to know about it.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 28, 2012, 11:12:13 PM
I think this sums it up and pretty much states my position against Getty. ;D

(http://i49.tinypic.com/105d2bs.jpg)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on August 29, 2012, 09:58:39 PM
As promised here are links to the two most recent letters I have received. The first is from the Washington State Atty. Gen.'s office and basically states that they have done everything they can do at this time.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/104353537/2-3-Response-From-Washington-State-AG   

The next letter is the reply I received from the Ohio State Atty. Gen.'s office after they initially declining to get involved I sent the follow-up letter and now they are stating they will contact Getty images.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/104353754/4-3-Response-From-Ohio-Atty-Gen
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on September 10, 2012, 11:36:48 AM
Today I received another letter back from my state senator.  It included a copy of an email from Pamela J. Russell, Legislative Counsel for the Library of Congress.  The library acknowledged having received my letter (which the senator's office had forwarded to them) and forwarding of it to the Copyright Office.

They indicate that they are "not in a position to provide legal advice" to me.  But they also did read the letter as they state "He is concerned that Getty and law firms are citing, and perhaps abusing, copyright laws in their efforts to collect money from individuals and small businesses that wish to avoid nuisance suits."  And they acknowledge that I "...appear to be seeking a legislative solution."

So "the beat goes on . . ."  Let the paperwork shuffling continue, and let's hope enough people in the Copyright Office have heard enough complaints about this issue that they will take some positive action.

I encourage you all to contact your representatives about this issue.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on September 10, 2012, 08:50:05 PM
@Stinger,

That is great news! Would you be willing to share the contact information and address of who you corresponded with at the Library of Congress as I did not send the letter to them with my original series of complaint letters. If I can get that information I would be happy to send a letter to them as well so that we can work on getting the number up to a point where they will take action.

Again great work and keep fighting!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on September 11, 2012, 09:12:10 AM
Greg, I didn't actually send my letter to the library of Congress, my Senator's people did.  But I did get a copy of an email from:

Pamela J. Russell
Legislative Counsel
Congressional Relations Office
Library of Congress
202.707.0026
[email protected]

Her email said that she was forwarding my letter to the Copyright Office for their information.  So she might be a great place to start.

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on September 11, 2012, 09:31:40 AM
Perfect, I will get a letter together and my info this weekend and send it out on Monday.  Thanks!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Oscar Michelen on September 11, 2012, 06:34:11 PM
Not surprised at the Washington AG's response with a form letter Greg, but"Keep Fighting!"  It is important that the Copyright Office receive some feedback from folks who are hit with trolling letters as they are undoubtedly getting hit with a wave of communication and suggestions from the other side's lobbyists.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on September 17, 2012, 08:22:51 PM
Just a quick update for everyone, today I received a letter from the Ohio State Atty. Gen.'s office stating that they are still awaiting a response from Getty to my complaint with their office.

I wonder if Getty is going to send the same form letter response as they sent to all the other agencies I've complain to them about or if they are revamping it since they know I send a follow-up letter ripping them apart for not addressing the issues I brought up, a couple of out right lies and the major typos where they have my company name wrong as well as the amount they are claiming. I will let everyone know how Getty responds to this complaint.

I had incredibly busy weekend and was not able to get my packet together to send off to the Library of Congress's legislative Council that Stinger was able to provide but should have that finished up and off in the mail in just a few days and as always will make the letter as well as any responses available on my  Scribd account.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on September 17, 2012, 08:38:10 PM
Just a quick update for everyone, today I received a letter from the Ohio State Atty. Gen.'s office stating that they are still awaiting a response from Getty to my complaint with their office.

I wonder if Getty is going to send the same form letter response as they sent to all the other agencies I've complain to them about or if they are revamping it since they know I send a follow-up letter ripping them apart for not addressing the issues I brought up, a couple of out right lies and the major typos where they have my company name wrong as well as the amount they are claiming. I will let everyone know how Getty responds to this complaint.

I had incredibly busy weekend and was not able to get my packet together to send off to the Library of Congress's legislative Council that Stinger was able to provide but should have that finished up and off in the mail in just a few days and as always will make the letter as well as any responses available on my  Scribd account.

I have a feeling you will hear nothing but crickets from them from this point on..they have to many other soft targets and low hanging fruit to take advantage of...
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on September 18, 2012, 12:19:47 PM
I would have thought that Getty would not just ignore a complaint filed with the AG, unless they are thinking that since there is not the volume of complaints filed with the Ohio AG as with the WA AG they will never reach the tipping point triggering an investigation.

Just a quick update for everyone, today I received a letter from the Ohio State Atty. Gen.'s office stating that they are still awaiting a response from Getty to my complaint with their office.

I wonder if Getty is going to send the same form letter response as they sent to all the other agencies I've complain to them about or if they are revamping it since they know I send a follow-up letter ripping them apart for not addressing the issues I brought up, a couple of out right lies and the major typos where they have my company name wrong as well as the amount they are claiming. I will let everyone know how Getty responds to this complaint.

I had incredibly busy weekend and was not able to get my packet together to send off to the Library of Congress's legislative Council that Stinger was able to provide but should have that finished up and off in the mail in just a few days and as always will make the letter as well as any responses available on my  Scribd account.

I have a feeling you will hear nothing but crickets from them from this point on..they have to many other soft targets and low hanging fruit to take advantage of...
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 01, 2012, 10:28:43 PM
Today I received a letter from the Ohio State Atty. Gen.’s office in response to my complaint against Getty images. One thing I found interesting in reading over Getty’s response which shows to me that they actually do read our forums as well as my posts. I have been blasting them for sending out there form letter time after time in getting the name of my company wrong as well as the amount they are claiming against me as well as other errors in their letter. This new letter while based on the framework of their standard form letter response has been modified and corrected. Besides getting my company name right and the amounts they are claiming one of the issues I was nailing them on was they continually stated that I had found the image in question through a Google in Internet search. While this paragraph was left intact they did stick an additional sentence on the front of it correctly stating that I found it on a website where was offered for free but the rest of the paragraph is exactly the same as it was before.

They are still claiming that they cannot provide me with proof due to confidentiality agreements between themselves and their artists yet they still forget to mention the fact that I had offered to sign a confidentiality agreement binding me not to discuss or disclose any of the information except for the purposes of trying to settle in their response to this was that it would take too much time and cost too much money to provide me with the proof.

A copy of the Atty. Gen.’s letter and Getty’s response may be found here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/108649883/4-4-Getty-Response-to-Ohio-Atty-Gen-Complaint

And my reply countering their arguments and requesting to be added to the file may be found here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/108652664/4-5-Reponse-to-Gettys-Reply-to-Ohio-AG-Complaint-Redacted

I sincerely hope that other extortion letter recipients will use the examples I have provided and join in the fight sending out as many complaint letters as possible because together we can make a difference and I truly believe in the long run between recent court decisions, rulings and other agencies starting to take notice change will come. Stay strong and keep fighting!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on October 02, 2012, 09:04:16 AM
Great letter Greg.  You lay out your case quite clearly and provide lots of detail in the links.

It's interesting how with a little time and organization, the arguments of the people on the ELI forums get stronger, while Getty just appears to jabber around the same old BS.

OK, maybe they do read this forum and have cleaned up a couple of things, but really, if they wanted to stop unauthorized use of their images, they would be much farther down that road today than they are.  They are just in it for the Trolling money.  I wonder if there is a way to discern how much revenue they raise in trolling versus legitimate licensing?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 02, 2012, 07:03:43 PM
Thank you for the kind words Stinger.

As far as determining the revenue I think it would be rather hard since Getty is a private company and not required to release financials like a publicly traded company. I have searched quite extensively for their financial records and can only find them posted back before they went private after that there is nothing. The only hint I have as to the revenue that they make from their extortion demand letters is that 2009 Los Angeles times articles where Lisa Wilmer states that they catch approximately 42,000 cases of cha-ching infringement a year. If we take into consideration the range of what Getty's considers to quallify as their pound of flesh it seem to be on average between $850 and $1250, so let's average that to an even $1000, that leaves Getty with the potential earnings of $42 million. I would imagine with the use of Pic-Scout now they have even more.

I do not know if they send letters to the majority of the pictures they find as I'm sure some are licensed and I seriously doubt if they send their extortion demand letters to large companies with legal staff that can defend themselves or even sue Getty, these companies probably get a C&D letter if anything. I'll tell you a figure I would be interested in finding out is what is the actual percentage that knuckle under and pay Getty.


Great letter Greg.  You lay out your case quite clearly and provide lots of detail in the links.

It's interesting how with a little time and organization, the arguments of the people on the ELI forums get stronger, while Getty just appears to jabber around the same old BS.

OK, maybe they do read this forum and have cleaned up a couple of things, but really, if they wanted to stop unauthorized use of their images, they would be much farther down that road today than they are.  They are just in it for the Trolling money.  I wonder if there is a way to discern how much revenue they raise in trolling versus legitimate licensing?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Couch_Potato on October 03, 2012, 11:56:24 AM
Even if Getty were not a private company is anyone here even sure how they would reflect in their accounts?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on October 03, 2012, 01:59:44 PM
Greg, I didn't hold out much hope for contacting the state AG's. And I know some people on here were even more pessimistic, considering any interaction with government agencies a complete waste of time. But I must say this "Experiment" is proving to be quite effective in raising awareness. Of course it yields the added bonus of putting a bee in the Getty bonnet.

Good work!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 03, 2012, 10:10:41 PM
Thanks Jerry! It has been a very interesting experiment and I have learned quite a bit from it. This experiment was designed so that I could learn how the different agencies worked, what results I could expect to receive from my letters as well as trying to determine how far up the letters would seem to go. I still advocate for letter recipients to send out complaint letters as the more that are received the sooner we will hit the tipping point where action may be taken.

I now have a new enhanced packet which contains much more relevant information and packs a considerably bigger punch ready to go should Getty or any representative of Getty like Timmy be foolish enough to contact me again. Without revealing too much information or tipping my hand I will say one of the issues that I discovered during my experiment is that the complaint letters don't seem to get into the hands of the people who can actually do anything about it. I also question the filing system and organization of some of the agencies such as the Washington state Atty. Gen.'s office. When Robert sent his request for copies of all the complaints filed against Getty it took nearly 3 months for him to receive it, if all the information was together in one Getty complaint file it would not have taken that long. This begs the question how do they know how many complaints are on file if they have them scattered all over the place. One of the major differences with my new packet is I have correlated a lot of this information to show how many different complaints there are with the different agencies in addition to recent court rulings and cases lending credence to my contention that what Getty is doing is abusing the copyright law and practicing what I consider to be legalized extortion.

I also believe I now have a way of delivering these packets directly into the hands to the main people of several agencies and congressional committees bypassing the hordes of overworked and well-meaning underlings who are doing the very best job they can but keep this information from moving up the chain of command where it can make a difference.

So for me the experiment is over and I am ready to begin the real fight, I am just waiting for Getty to provoke the next round where much like Gen. Maximus I intend to unleash hell and will be much more than a bee in the Getty bonnet.

At my signal, unleash hell....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IPzpaD4UOE


Greg, I didn't hold out much hope for contacting the state AG's. And I know some people on here were even more pessimistic, considering any interaction with government agencies a complete waste of time. But I must say this "Experiment" is proving to be quite effective in raising awareness. Of course it yields the added bonus of putting a bee in the Getty bonnet.

Good work!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Couch_Potato on October 04, 2012, 05:39:29 AM
Something that may be of interest.

I have some data on Getty UK's accounts filed in 2009 and 2010.

In 2009 they listed their trade debtors assets as £72,000.

In 2010 their accounts showed trade debtors as £69,185,000, a small increase of 95990%

Of course it may be something unrelated such as a change in policy that means charges aren't paid up front but it seems a drastic swing in just 12 months.

Just for the record. This information is freely available in their accounts which in the UK are open to the public.

Something else that may be of interest is this:

http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Gettys-CFR-to-B2-from-Ba3-assigns-B1--PR_256183

Probably couldn't afford to sue anyone even if it was their policy :p
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on October 04, 2012, 06:39:55 AM
don't forget Getty Images recently purchased Picscout for a large sum...could this be part of these numbers below?

Something that may be of interest.

I have some data on Getty UK's accounts filed in 2009 and 2010.

In 2009 they listed their trade debtors assets as £72,000.

In 2010 their accounts showed trade debtors as £69,185,000, a small increase of 95990%

Of course it may be something unrelated such as a change in policy that means charges aren't paid up front but it seems a drastic swing in just 12 months.

Just for the record. This information is freely available in their accounts which in the UK are open to the public.

Something else that may be of interest is this:

http://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Gettys-CFR-to-B2-from-Ba3-assigns-B1--PR_256183

Probably couldn't afford to sue anyone even if it was their policy :p
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Couch_Potato on October 04, 2012, 07:36:39 AM
Getty's purchase of Picscout was 2011 and was for a reported $20 million.

Trade Debtors are amounts owed by customers who have purchased something which wouldn't relate to picscout.

As I said, it could be a restructure of the way they released images, but to be owed that much at year end is strange. Doubt we'll ever know for sure though.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on October 04, 2012, 08:18:33 AM
Thanks for the clarification!  Perhaps that amount reflects the number of extortion letters that are being ignored!  ;D

Getty's purchase of Picscout was 2011 and was for a reported $20 million.

Trade Debtors are amounts owed by customers who have purchased something which wouldn't relate to picscout.

As I said, it could be a restructure of the way they released images, but to be owed that much at year end is strange. Doubt we'll ever know for sure though.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 04, 2012, 08:19:54 AM
I appreciate the information couch patato, I breifly scanned it and it looks interesting.  I will read it in detail when I get home this evening.  Thanks again! :)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Couch_Potato on October 04, 2012, 08:33:24 AM
If you want more information let me know and I'll message where you can get it.

It's not really a secret and as I said, this information is freely available but I'd rather Getty didn't know where I sourced it.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Couch_Potato on October 04, 2012, 08:39:07 AM
Thanks for the clarification!  Perhaps that amount reflects the number of extortion letters that are being ignored!  ;D

Getty's purchase of Picscout was 2011 and was for a reported $20 million.

Trade Debtors are amounts owed by customers who have purchased something which wouldn't relate to picscout.

As I said, it could be a restructure of the way they released images, but to be owed that much at year end is strange. Doubt we'll ever know for sure though.

I think the interest is if these figures do indeed relate to any extortion letters then these would indeed by treated as a debt, which makes any of the companies chasing on behalf of Getty liars when they say it isn't a debt.

Of course this is speculation, and the figures could be related to something else, but perhaps a letter recipient in the UK could fairly ask the question about how Getty views the amount being requested and as the letter also provides an invoice, whether this is listed on their accounts as a debt.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on October 04, 2012, 11:16:04 AM
Greg:  My fear is that all this work you have done to prepare for the "War to end all wars" with Getty will be for naught, because they probably don't have the stones to push you any further.

What I hope is, if they push hard on anyone here on this forum, that you might take what you have learned to guide that person in taking the fight to Getty.

This war isn't over when one of us win.  It is over when the trolls start trolling and get back to the business they are supposed to be in, rather than using the law as a business plan to go after the small fish.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 04, 2012, 08:10:19 PM
Yes, please do. You can send it to me through the ELI message system or email me directly at [email protected] Thanks!

If you want more information let me know and I'll message where you can get it.

It's not really a secret and as I said, this information is freely available but I'd rather Getty didn't know where I sourced it.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 04, 2012, 08:29:29 PM
Stinger, you can rest assured that I am not going anywhere in that I plan to be here fighting and assisting others as long as ELI is needed. This is also the reason why I have been so open with my experiment so that others may join in the fight and can view and use my letters as a template for theirs.

Just because I have now placed the ball back in Getty's court does not mean I am here sitting on my hands. While I feel that my current packet is greatly improved over the information I had included with my previous complaint letters I am still continuously reading and researching through the net, court cases and rulings for items that are relevant and bolster ELI's side as well as things that will show a long history of questionable business practices by this company.

As a matter fact just last night I found a very interesting article from back in 2007 when Getty was a public company where to shareholders filed lawsuits against Jonathan Klein as well as other top Getty executives were accused of backdating stock options so that they could rake in huge personal profits. I would like to preface this by saying I have not had a chance as of yet to read the suits or find out what their outcomes were so I do not know as of yet but one of the stockholders bringing the suit says that 21 out of 25 of the discretionary grants just happened to coincide with his story close in the stock price making the redemption of the stock options extremely profitable for the executives. A link to the article may be found here:

http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2003610937_getty10.html

So again rest assured that I am not going anywhere and I will be here and continue to help everyone I can.

<----Edit---->

I just got done going over the information in the article above and found that to stockholder lawsuits were result. I have uploaded the complaints from PACER to my Scribd account and will make them available here. From what I can see the parties agreed to settle in Getty paid the plaintiffs legal fees which in one case was $900,000 but it appears that the settlement was caused by the merger of Getty resulting in Getty no longer being a publicly held company. It looks as if at least in the Edwards case that he was trying to say that Getty was doing this to kill the cases. I have scanned the complaints and the order and found them very interesting and wanted to share them with the rest of you.

This is the kind of information whether it be recent or old I am looking for an if anyone has more information, articles, court cases or rulings about Getty or a relevant to the Getty/troll issues please share them.

Edmonds v Getty complaint:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/109044444/Edmonds-v-Getty-Shareholder-Complaint

Edmonds v Getty stipulation:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/109044445/Edmonds-v-Getty-Stipulation

Edmonds v Getty order:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/109044443/Edmonds-v-Getty-Order

Lopez v Getty lawsuit:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/109044451/Lopez-v-Getty-Stockholder-Lawsuit

Greg:  My fear is that all this work you have done to prepare for the "War to end all wars" with Getty will be for naught, because they probably don't have the stones to push you any further.

What I hope is, if they push hard on anyone here on this forum, that you might take what you have learned to guide that person in taking the fight to Getty.

This war isn't over when one of us win.  It is over when the trolls start trolling and get back to the business they are supposed to be in, rather than using the law as a business plan to go after the small fish.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: gtilflm on October 04, 2012, 08:33:52 PM
Greg, the vigor with which you're pursuing this is commendable.  Bravo!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 04, 2012, 09:20:12 PM
Thank you gtilflm and peeved, I appreciate the kind words.

Be sure to go back and look at my previous post as I have edited it in added court documents that I found pertaining to the lawsuits mentioned in that 2007 article.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on October 05, 2012, 06:30:59 AM
I hang my head in shame...That is all...carry on.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 05, 2012, 06:48:51 AM
Never! ......Teamwork!

I hang my head in shame...That is all...carry on.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 05, 2012, 12:30:16 PM
Got the link, thanks!


Yes, please do. You can send it to me through the ELI message system or email me directly at [email protected] Thanks!

If you want more information let me know and I'll message where you can get it.

It's not really a secret and as I said, this information is freely available but I'd rather Getty didn't know where I sourced it.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on October 08, 2012, 09:59:27 AM
Just reading this stuff makes my skin crawl.  Good work finding it Greg! 

I have now come to the conclusion that all the mean and nasty things Robert has said about Getty over the years were the work of a gentlemen being way, way too kind.

These guys are scum.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 09, 2012, 08:29:47 AM
Agreed, I am currently following up on the story I mentioned above and should hopefully have some new information to post very shortly. It appears as result of this companies business model even when they were a public company it resulted in stockholder suing them and photographers suing them. It will be interesting to see where this research leads.

Just reading this stuff makes my skin crawl.  Good work finding it Greg! 

I have now come to the conclusion that all the mean and nasty things Robert has said about Getty over the years were the work of a gentlemen being way, way too kind.

These guys are scum.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 14, 2012, 06:15:04 PM
As promised here is the information I have been able to uncover so far about the stock option lawsuits. Since this thread is getting so large I am also going to post this in its own thread as well.

Before getting into the meat of this article I wanted to state that wherever possible I have linked to articles where I have obtained my information and that statements not directly reporting on the facts of the article are my own personal opinions.

I wanted to share a few nuggets that I found while continuing my online research into Getty Images. The first is a very interesting article I found from back in March 2007 when Getty was still a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. The article was about two separate stockholder lawsuits against Jonathan Klein and the top officers at Getty Images and alleged that “a majority of the company's directors and top officers engaged in a secret scheme to illegally line their own pockets”. The original article may be found here:
http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2003610937_getty10.html

The lawsuits allege that Jonathan Klein in the top officers that Getty were involved in a practice known as backdating stock options. What this means in layman’s terms for those who do not know is simply this, stock options are company stock issued to employees issued on a specific date and a specific number of shares which the employee may hold onto and keep or sell as they choose. If the company does well and the price of the stock goes up then they can make money on the increase over and above when the stock was issued. The more the stock goes up the more the potential profit can be. Backdating a stock option is when you go back and change the records of the date when the stock was issued to a time when the stock was very low which will allow maximum profit when your options are cashed in.

One of the lawsuits brought by Richard Edmonds who became suspicious when as he alleges  21 of the 25 stock options cashed in by Jonathan Klein and his buddies just happened to coincide with his historic lows in Getty’s stock prices. There is a lot of information here but if you wish to read Richard Edmonds lawsuit it may be found here:
Edmonds v Getty complaint:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/109044444/Edmonds-v-Getty-Shareholder-Complaint

Apparently there was enough damning information for the SEC to initiate its own investigation into Getty’s stock option backdating practices.
http://www.photomediaonline.com/blogs/industry-news/item/584-sec-investigates-getty-images-stock.html

While I have looked all over the net I have not as yet been able to find the results of the investigation. A little over a week ago I filled out an online form on the SEC website requesting information as to the result of this investigation. While I have not heard back from them yet I am going to be sending a formal letter through the postal service via certified mail requesting this information. I will post the results of the investigation if I am able to obtain it or if any of the other ELI members can find it and share it or send it to me.

Getty also launched its own internal investigation into the matter and they released a statement saying that yes there was backdating of stock options however Getty claims there was no intentional wrongdoing and that it was more of an error caused by when the stock options were decided to be issued and when the paperwork was actually filled out issuing it. If Mr. Edmonds is right then like him I find it an amazing coincidence that 21 out of 25 times that clerical error or whatever you want to call it (wink wink) just happened result in the issue date coinciding with historic lows in Getty stock prices. Getty also announced as a result of this investigation it would go back and restate its financial results in the amounts of between “$28MM to $32MM” correcting for the error. The article on this may be found here:
http://www.abouttheimage.com/2737/getty_investigation_finds_no_intentional_wrong_doing_in_backdating_of_stock/author3/

@SG I could use a picture here of Johanthan Klein getting caught with his hand in the corporate stock option cookie jar ;)


What I find very interesting about this whole thing is the lawsuits continued until 2009 when they were abruptly ended by Getty going private. Getty had to get both parties to drop their lawsuit before they could proceed with the company’s privatization so unfortunately we will never know how it would have turned out. I do know in the case of Edmonds his legal fees were paid by Getty to the tune of $900,000 and I am not sure what agreement was reached with the other party. The stipulation and order on the Edmonds case may be read here:

Edmonds v Getty stipulation:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/109044445/Edmonds-v-Getty-Stipulation

Edmonds v Getty order:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/109044443/Edmonds-v-Getty-Order


Another thing that I am trying to find out now and would not be surprised to discover that the current Getty business model of sending out mass amounts of extortion settlement demand letters coincided with Getty going private. Besides the fact of the privatization of Getty getting Jonathan Klein and his buddies off the hook of the lawsuits hanging over their heads and the ramifications of that, it also would allow their current business model to be operated without having to worry about publicly reporting what they are doing or how much they are making from it. We only have a slight glimmer into the amount of money Jonathan Klein and Getty images reaps from this business model thanks to a 2009 Los Angeles times article in which Lisa Wilmer states at that time Getty finds approximately 42,000 cases per year of what they consider infringement. The article may be found here:

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/sep/13/business/fi-lazarus13

This is the first of articles I intend to post showing that Getty’s current business model is nothing new and that Jonathan Klein and his company have a long history of questionable practices resulting in lawsuits from stockholders, their own photographer clients and their current settlement demand letter business model.

Stay tuned more to come....
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on October 15, 2012, 10:28:52 AM
Great work Greg!  Thanks for the post.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on October 15, 2012, 02:54:22 PM
Wow, great work Greg. The Getty claim, "I'm a legitimate businessman" isn't going to hold for much longer.  It's going to soon sound a lot like the protests the mobsters would all make before they went to jail.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 15, 2012, 07:09:45 PM
Thanks Stinger and Jerry!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 17, 2012, 10:48:19 PM
As promised here is part two in my series of articles about the business practices of Jonathan Klein and Getty images. As before I will also post this in a thread of its own just to make sure there is a nice SEO bump in the search results for Jonathan Klein and Getty images. Enjoy!

Before getting into the meat of this article I wanted to state that wherever possible I have linked to articles where I have obtained my information and that statements not directly reporting on the facts of the article are my own personal opinions.

This is part two of my series of articles focusing on the history that Jonathan Klein and Getty images has of questionable business practices. Previously I spoke about two separate stockholder lawsuits against Jonathan Klein and the top management at Getty which alleged that they were backdating stock option grants to historic low prices and lining their pockets at the company’s and stockholders expense. If you would like to read this article it may be found here:
http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/jonathan-klein-and-getty-images-a-history-of-questionable-business-practices/

Today I would like to talk about how Jonathan Klein and Getty images have treated their contributors in the past. The first case is a class-action lawsuit filed against Getty by its contributors over a new service Getty had started called “Premium Access”. This suit was a result of Getty allegedly disregarding their own contributor agreements on rights managed photographs and offering images for sale and unlimited use for very little money. In this class action suit there were around to 100 individual photographers and companies suing Getty asking for damages in excess of $100 million. Here is a quote from one of the brief articles I was able to find on this lawsuit
 
The photographs have allegedly been licensed by Getty to major media clients for as little as $2.08 for extensive, untracked use. This has severely undercut the market for comparable photographs, damaged the future market for these photographs, and violated both the Rights Managed Image Distribution agreements Getty signed and the Uniform Commercial Code.”

This almost sounds to me like they were trying to create an i–stock within their own site. From what I understand Getty owns i–stock and there are instances where a photograph appears on Getty and i–stock at the same time, the i–stock image being priced reasonable and in line with market value and the Getty image being typically way overpriced.

This case and it is frustrating for me as the stockholder lawsuits were, I do not know how it would’ve played out or if there’s any behind-the-scenes settlement as the stipulation for dismissal makes it appear that both parties agreed to drop the suit and walk away.

The legal documents may be found here if you are interested:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/110376269/Class-Action-Agianst-Getty-Images-Complaint
http://www.scribd.com/doc/110376270/Class-Action-Agianst-Getty-Images-Stipulation-for-Dismissal

The brief articles I could find may be found here:
http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/lawsuit/photographers-launch-class-action-against-getty.html
http://www.kreindler.com/Recent-Developments/Kreindler-Kreindler-LLP-Files-Class-Action-Against-Getty-Images-on-Behalf-of-Professional-Photographers.shtml


At this point I want to give a shout out to Robert Krausankas who does some photography of his own and pointed me to a couple of photographer sites where it shows how unhappy a lot of photographers are with Getty. Many appear to be contributors who are disgruntled over the recent sale to the Carlyle group saying every time something like this happens the commission rates are restructured and they are not making any money while Getty is keeping the profits. Here are the links to the sites that Robert provided for my research.
http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/8/15/Getty-sold-for-3-3billion?comment=2837210054
http://www.microstockgroup.com/istockphoto-com/hf-presses-on-with-$4-billion-getty-images-sale

So in conclusion we see that Jonathan Klein and Getty images not only have angered stockholders to the point of legal action for allegedly skimming profits rightfully due to the stockholders by backdating stock options as well as angering their own contributors to the point of a class-action lawsuit because of allegedly disregarding their own contributor agreements and offering rights managed photos for sale with unlimited use for as little as $2.08 and continue to anger current contributors by taking more and more of the lion share made from the photographs submitted.

My purpose of these articles is to show Getty has a history of this kind of behavior and the current business model of extortion settlement demand letters is just the latest in a line of questionable business practices designed to make as much money as possible whether earned and deserved or not. As I have said many times I consider Getty’s current business model, in my opinion, is nothing more than a form of legalized extortion where they are using current copyright law, scare tactics, refusal to provide proof substantiating their claim of exclusive rights, artificial deadlines and the threat of imminent lawsuit to get individuals, mom-and-pop companies and small businesses to pay them vastly overinflated sums of money. This is not to say that there are cases of willful infringement and I do not support nor does anyone on this forum that I am aware of support copyright infringement or the true theft of intellectual property, I refer to Getty’s insistence in pursuit of people and businesses which can clearly show that they are the victims of third parties and/or are truly innocent infringers.

You may ask why I have decided to name Jonathan Klein personally in this article. I am a firm believer in associating a face with any complaint that I make. In my original complaint letters I named my Getty Copyright Compliance pen-pal Douglas Bieker along with Getty images in every single complaint letter that I sent out. Jonathan Klein is the top man at Getty, he is aware of his company’s current business model and must give it the green light of approval so I choose to put his face on these articles about the company he runs. If you had not follow the thread and wish to read about my letter writing campaign as well as all letters they may be found here:
http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/an-experiment-against-getty/

This is part two in a series of articles I plan to write, the next part will show Getty’s history of talking out of both sides of their mouth where they refuse to listen to innocent infringers and tell them they must pay or be sued yet when they are guilty of the same infraction they claim no harm was intended and if there was any infringement on their part it was innocent so they should not have to pay. So stay tuned for part three…
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 21, 2012, 05:30:23 PM
As promised here is part three in my series of articles about the business practices of Jonathan Klein and Getty images. As before I will also post this in a thread of its own just to make sure there is a nice SEO bump in the search results for Jonathan Klein and Getty images. Enjoy!

Before getting into the meat of this article I wanted to state that wherever possible I have linked to sources where I have obtained my information and that statements not directly reporting on the facts of the article are my own personal opinions.

This is part three of my series of articles focusing on the Jonathan Klein and Getty images has a history of questionable business practices. Previously I spoke about two separate stockholder lawsuits against Jonathan Klein and the top management at Getty which alleged that they were backdating stock option grants to historic low prices and lining their pockets at the company’s and stockholders expense. If you would like to read this article it may be found here:

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/jonathan-klein-and-getty-images-a-history-of-questionable-business-practices/

Next was an article showing how Jonathan Klein and Getty images has a history of treating their contributors poorly and even having their contributors file a class action lawsuit alleging that Getty ignored their agreement and offered rights managed images for sale for as little as $2.08 with unmonitored usage. If you would like to read this article it may be found here:

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/jonathan-klein-and-getty-images-know-how-to-treat-their-contributors-not/

This article will deal with how Jonathan Klein and Getty images do not practice what they preach and is clearly a case of do as I say, not as I do. The majority of the people who come to ELI for help generally fall into a couple of categories, the first being where they are victims of a third party such as a web designer who placed the images on their website without obtaining a license, the next category and the one I wish to address first is the innocent infringer. This is someone who has found an image not through an image search such as Google and not taken from the Getty site itself but from another website or source where the image appears to be offered for free, believing the image to be free it was taken and used. These victims genuinely feel bad when they are told that their image was not free as they believed but part of the Getty collection. The innocent infringer will usually face an exercise in futility by trying to explain to Getty how their image was obtained and how it appeared to be free, so if there was any infringement it was innocent and a simple cease and desist should suffice. Of course Getty is all about the money and cares not one iota and demands payment.

Here’s where it gets interesting, let’s look at a couple of recent and I believe still ongoing cases, the first is Rock Photo which is suing Getty for knowingly and willfully infringing on his copyright by offering his images for sale. The owner of Rock Photo states that his images were stolen and the person who stole them sold them to Getty while at the same time Getty knew the images did not belong to the seller. Getty’s key arguments is that they did not believe they were infringing on anyone’s copyright as they thought they had purchased the images and if they were infringing the action was innocent and non-willful therefore they should not have to pay anything. Sound familiar? You may read the complaint in the case here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/110658180/RockPhotos-Sues-Getty-for-Infringement

Now here’s another case that could apply to letter recipients who are victims of third party infringement. This case involves a company called Car Freshener Corp, you know them but probably not by name as they make the little Christmas tree shaped air fresheners you hang from your car’s rearview mirror. They happen to notice that there were several pictures on Getty’s site which included their copyrighted and trademarked air fresheners. I guess Getty was uncooperative with them so they sued Getty for trademark infringement. Even after being sued Getty was still being difficult and not providing discovery information to the point that Car Freshener Corp had to complain to the court and file a motion. Getty once again played their confidentiality card and claimed it would violate the confidentiality between themselves and their artists to provide the information requested. I believe Getty’s main defense was that they were victims of the artists uploading photos containing images of the copyrighted and trademarked air fresheners so it should not be their fault but rather the people who uploaded the photos. While I tend to agree with this statement I find it interesting that when a letter recipient says they know absolutely nothing about the Internet and paid a web designer to do their site and they are the ones that placed any images on their webpages, Getty’s response is always it doesn’t matter, it’s your site now pay us. Getty did end up having to pay a substantial fee for each image that they were selling that contains the trademarked image. You may read the decision and the threads pertaining to this on the forum here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/67629206/Decision-Tree-Freshner-Getty

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/getty-images-and-scented-trees-update/


Here’s one that I really like, on Getty’s site they offer many images which are public domain. While I understand and agree that they should charge a “reasonable” fee to license these images from their site since the work was done to bring many images of the same subject together saving time and research on the part of the customer this does not mean Getty can pursue anyone for infringement on a public domain image. First because it is a public domain image and second Getty has no way of knowing where the letter recipient obtained the image. Here are a couple of cases in which Getty has tried to collect from people over public domain images. The first was a gentleman by the name of Dan Evans who came to our forum after receiving a letter from Getty over an image taken back in 1856 of Henry David Thoreau and was taken from the Wikipedia page on Mr. Thoreau, it was even labeled public domain there. Getty was demanding $780 from Mr. Evans for using a public domain image that Getty also happen to offer on their site claiming infringement. Mr. Evans sent them a letter telling them this was a public domain image and to basically pound sand, wisely Getty replied back that they had closed the case. This makes me wonder how many other people Getty has done this to and have frightened into paying hundreds of dollars for a free image.

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/don't-pay-getty-thank-you-eli/


The next case like this was gleaned from Roberts excellent work in obtaining all of the Attorney General Complaints filed with the Washington State Attorney General’s office against Getty. There are a few very interesting complaints in these files. The first is a case where Getty sent a letter demanding payment to a gentleman named Jim Conachen for another public domain image; the image was of an F-16 fighter taken by another military plane and released by the government which makes it a public domain image. This image was used in a web template offered for sale from Intuit.com. After the usual Getty runaround Mr.  Conachen filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office as well as informed Intuit of what was going on. While Getty for all intents and purposes ignored complaints from the Attorney General’s office as they cannot force Getty to do anything however, as I have stated in the past it is my opinion that Getty does not go after large companies the same way they go after individuals, small businesses and mom-and-pop companies since large companies have the resources to defend themselves. Intuit replied back to Mr. Conachen complaint and told him don’t worry about it we will handle it, then lo and behold Getty sends a letter to the Attorney General’s office saying in regards to Mr. Conachen complaint we are pleased to inform you that we have dropped our claim and consider the matter closed. It is amazingly how quickly Getty backs down when there is a large company with legal resources behind them telling them to back off. Here’s the complaint in the Eli document library if you wish to view it:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/104557917/Getty-Images-Attorney-General-Complaint-19

Now a perfect example of Getty’s talking out of both sides of their mouth can be found here, this is a PDF pamphlet made available on Getty’s website called “Copyright 101”, in this pamphlet Getty poses questions and answers them such as “I am a blogger, am I allowed to use the image in my blog for free?” and “I am a volunteer or nonprofit company can we use the image for free?”. In both cases the answer is an emphatic no, yet in a recent video CEO Jonathan Klein seems to say sure take our images, play around with them and feel free to use them up and to the point where you start making money on them which apparently contradicts their own pamphlet. The video may be found here and Mr. Klein’s statement starts right around one minute into the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=T0mSYjL44n0

Finally for the last example of do as I say and not as I do, Getty always tells the letter recipient the burden to find out the copyright status of an images falls on the consumer which is true, but who in their right minds after getting an image that all around it says FREE-FREE-FREE, who would think now I need to try and find the owner of this image and see if it was licensed to this website.  Here is pamphlet available on the Getty site called “Be Sure of It” where they talk about making sure you have rights to the image you want to use. If you go to page 5 called “Image Guarantee” it appears that Getty is trying to sell you image insurance to protect you from their own images!?!  Their pitch is:

Not every image comes with a model or property release.
Sometimes, with certain non-released imagery or
footage, it’s simply not possible to find or identify a rights
holder, if one even exists. So clearance just isn’t an option
.”

It appears at least to me that Getty is saying were not even sure of the copyright status or even who the copyright holders are on all their images so rather than Getty following their own instructions they say will sell you insurance to protect you from the images we sell you.  You may read this pamphlet here:

http://www.gettyimages.com/CMS/Pages/RightsClearance/StaticContent/RnC.en-us.pdf

This also seems to be backed up by a statement made by Getty Copyright Compliance Specialist Nancy Monson when replied with the following statement to a letter recipient:

Copyright exists the moment a photograph is created and copyright registration is not a requirement of copyright ownership. Getty Images does not own the image. Getty Images has contracts with its contributing photographers who are the copyright holders and owners of the images. The contributor agreement contains representations and warranties that the contributor is the sole copyright owner. Consequently, Getty Images does not require contributors to provide Getty Images with certificates of registration and leaves the option of copyright registration to the individual photographer. Due to confidentiality concerns, Getty Images does not provide copies of our contributor contracts or copyright registration at this time.”

While the first part of Ms. Monson statement is 100% correct in that copyright exists as soon as you take the picture, I love how Getty in their demand letters wants “Damages” that their artist have suffered when they admit here that they have no idea whether or not an images has been registered or registered properly allowing them to ask for and collect damages, albeit in my opinion the damages that they ask for exist only in their mind.  If Jonathan Klein currently owns or ever buys a yacht he should name it Damages so their demand letters would at least be accurate when they say you must pay for damages, I bet he really misses those stock options too.  The article with Ms. Monson’s quote may be found here:
http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/an-interesting-message-from-a-getty-'copyright-compliance-specialist-'/

So in conclusion we can see Getty images doesn’t practice what they preach and likes to act a lot like congress by holding themselves to a completely different standard than they do everyone else.  In the next article we will look at some of the legal cases Getty has been involved in.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 28, 2012, 10:21:04 PM
I found another little nugget here that took place right around the same time as the backdating of the stock options and thought was fairly interesting. From January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2006 Getty was found not to have paid the proper amount of business and operating taxes, this resulted from a 2001 foreign audit in which the Getty affiliates were required to enter into a formal written agreement for administrative and management services with its parent company Getty Images. Without this agreement Getty could not deduct the cost of administrative services that Getty images provided the foreign affiliates, so Getty formed a limited liability corporation under the laws of California called Getty Management. Under the written agreement created called the General and Administrative Services Agreement (GASA) Getty images agreed to pay itself $1 million a year for handling the administrative issues and only pay taxes on the $1 million a year, yet an auditor found that Getty management incurred costs ranging between $25 million and  $98 million per year for total of approximately $307 million during the audit period. The auditor concluded that Getty owed back taxes on the difference of the money and must start paying on the total amount here forward rather than the $1 million written into the agreement.

Getty immediately paid the back taxes but sued the city of Seattle saying that they did not owe the money. During the case in the Court of Appeals for the state of Washington Division I the chief financial officer of Getty Jeffrey Dunn testified, when asked what the primary reason was that this was set up this way he replied and I quote
Quote
I think, again, the primary reason was to -- to affect the management charges to the foreign affiliates, with a secondary reason being to avoid an increase in tax in the state of Washington.

Q. Getty of Seattle could not continue to perform its management services under its contract with Getty management unless it received these payments to the cash management system to pay its expenses?

Dunn: that's correct

Dunn also testified later in a pertinent part:

Quote
so it was critical to -- critical for us to implement the process of -- of charging these management fees and getting the deductions in the foreign countries. In doing so, we would have increased our exposure to B&O tax both in the state of Washington in the city of Seattle, and so the management company structure was -- was used to shield that increase in tax.

Getty cited several different cases as precedents which they believed prove that they did not owe the tax and the court ruled that none of them applied and they did owe the tax. Getty also appealed the court's decision to the Washington state Supreme Court who refuse to hear the case.

As I said all this took place about the same time as the stock option backdating and in my opinion just as another example of how Getty images chooses not to play by the rules and operate in an unethical manner weather it is with innocent infringers they send their demand letters to, their own contributors, their stockholders and even the local and state governments. There is a lot of information contained in this case and to truly grasp it you'll need to read the documents which I am providing below:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/111396110/Getty-v-City-of-Seattle

http://www.scribd.com/doc/111396108/Getty-v-City-of-Seattle-Ruling

Request for review by Washington Supreme Court Denied Entry #8
http://www.courts.wa.gov/appellate_trial_courts/supreme/?fa=atc_supreme.display&year=2012&petition=pr120207#A1
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 31, 2012, 12:25:48 AM
I just wanted to give everyone that has been following my experiment an update on its status. The last communication I received from Getty images was their notice that if I did not pay they were going to escalate my case to their legal department, which in turn prompted my letter writing campaign/experiment. Today makes it exactly 6 months to the day since I received that letter and as a result of the experiment I have yet to hear a peep out of Getty, NCS or McCormack legal. I seriously doubt I will hear anything from any of them ever again as I’m sure they read the forums and are well aware that I am now prepared to do far worse at a moment’s notice should I hear from any of them.

I hope others will find this experiment useful and be able to modify it to their individual needs and use it to fend off these legalized extortion demand letters sent from copyright trolling individuals and companies. If you are new to this thread and starting it at the end, links to copies of all my correspondence, complaint letters and replies may be found here:

Here are the Letters between Myself and Getty Images:

http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3777294

Here are copies of the complaint letters that I sent out along with any replies and follow-up responses.

http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3777301

If you use this information please consider sharing your letters and results with your personal information redacted so that others and I can see how it works for you and I can add in the new data and update/modify the experiment as needed.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Oscar Michelen on November 07, 2012, 10:53:39 PM
This should be helpful to the many other folks who are dealing with the issue!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on November 08, 2012, 08:51:46 PM
I have been away this week and upon returning I have found a reply from the SEC to my request for information about the backdating of stock options by Jonathan Klein and other top executive officers. I did not get a yes and I did not get in no as of yet but it appears I had not provided quite enough/accurate information the SEC needed which I hope I have corrected with my reply. I am posting the reply and if you scroll down you can see my original request as well as the SEC's response.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/112637179/Request-for-information-from-the-SEC-in-regards-to-the-backdating-of-stock-options-by-Getty-images-CEO-Robert-Klein

I will keep everyone posted as to what I am able to find out.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on November 09, 2012, 12:25:06 PM
Thank you Oscar and this is why I have made this experiment public in the hope that others can see what can be done and join in the fight.  The more people we can get that are in similar situations to stand up and fight and send complaint letters the sooner we can reach a tipping point where these agencies will see the scope of this issue and take action.

This should be helpful to the many other folks who are dealing with the issue!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on November 19, 2012, 08:34:10 AM
I just got this response from the SEC to my inquiry about their investigation into Getty images backdating stock options. It looks as if they cannot provide me the information but she is telling me to go through the freedom of information act and providing me a link to it. When I get home from work this evening I will follow the link and see what I need to do and continue to pursue this through the FOIA. Here's a link to the response I received from the SEC.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/113769493/SEC-Response
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: coriblk on November 19, 2012, 12:28:21 PM
After this, I just removed all of getty's images from my site and all they images have been banned from other blogs I write for. Not taking any chances with these people. Thought once the image was in the public domain it was free to use under fairshare..clearly not.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on November 19, 2012, 01:27:31 PM
An image in the public domain IS free to use. Just because GI engages in the scummy practice of selling images in the public domain does not mean that they hold a copyright on the image.

But like you, I have completely stopped doing business with GI and MF as well as iStockPhoto (a Getty subsidiary). Last month I managed to divert two other clients from iStock purchases to Pond5 for their stock footage needs. I plan to vocally continue to do this and encourage others to do so as well until the large stock companies change their business practices (or die).
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on November 25, 2012, 06:34:57 PM
Okay, so the SEC in their last reply to my request for information regarding the backdating of stock options by Jonathan Klein in the top level managers at Getty images was denied. The lady informed me that they never release their reports as they are private, but then she says you can request the information through the freedom of information act and gave me a link on how to do it. I have drafted my letter and will be mailing it tomorrow requesting that the SEC provide me with all documents regarding their investigation to the backdating of stock options by Jonathan Klein and other top brass at Getty under the FOIA.

So we will wait for the results and I will let everyone know what I find. Here's a link to the letter if anyone is interested:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/114385651/SEC-FOIA-Request-Redacted
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on December 06, 2012, 07:45:01 PM
Tonight I received a reply from the Securities and Exchange Commission to my request under the freedom of information act that all documents concerning the investigation of the backdating of stock options by Jonathan Klein and other top officers of Getty Images be released to me.

The SEC has accepted my request assigned me a case number and has started working on getting the documents. I will keep everyone posted as soon as I find out anything more. Here's a link to the letter I received if anyone is interested:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/115836326/SEC-FOIA-Reply-Redacted
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on December 06, 2012, 08:31:39 PM
Happy Hannakuh Mr Klien!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on December 06, 2012, 10:13:14 PM
Persistence overcomes Resistance!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Mulligan on December 07, 2012, 10:11:19 AM
Good job, Greg!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on December 07, 2012, 07:09:17 PM
Thanks guys, looking forward to getting the report and seeing what's in it.

I am still trying to get my hands on one of their contributor agreements that they are willing fight court orders to produce and pay big bucks to settle class action lawsuits with contributors rather than let anyone see it.  I suspect that if it was released people would find what a raw deal it is for the contributors.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Oscar Michelen on December 08, 2012, 10:14:25 AM
Great work Greg!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on December 11, 2012, 07:57:30 PM
Thanks Oscar!  I hope I get the information by Christmas :)

Great work Greg!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on December 21, 2012, 11:01:01 PM
Well, still nothing yet from the SEC, I was hoping for a Christmas present from them and I imagine they are shut down now until after the first of the year.  Oh well, hopefully shortly after the first :)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 05, 2013, 01:36:50 PM
While reading the posts in another thread I came across something I thought was very interesting. A post by cranky fish where he cited a Federal District Court opinion on a case contained something I thought was very interesting. While citing the history and the facts of the case the court made a reference to the "Extortion Letter" that was initially sent out and made this comment about it.

Quote
This Court must be very careful to treat all attorneys with courtesy and not launch missiles. The Court, however, finds a portion of the letter from the Kansas attorney to be frankly disturbing. No person, especially an attorney, should be even mentioning a possible criminal prosecution in an attempt to collect money in a civil dispute. Extortion is theft by threat if a person obtains property of another by threatening to accuse anyone of a criminal offense. This is not only the common law but is a statute in South Dakota. See SDCL 22-30A-4(2). It is also a specific grounds for disbarment in South Dakota.

I would like to thank cranky fish for posting this district court's opinion as I am going to modify all of my complaint letters I have ready and waiting should I receive a letter from Mr. McCormack and also the complaint letters I have ready to go against Getty images and Lisa Wilmer to include this Federal District Court opinion.

For those of you who are writing complaint letters I would recommend including this in your letter in some fashion and here is the link to the entire opinion provided by cranky fish.

http://www.sdbar.org/Federal/1998/1998dsd033.htm

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on January 05, 2013, 01:47:06 PM
Great catch Greg!!! Seattle attorney Timothy B. McCormack would probably shit a brick, if this little snipper was included in a complaint the the 3 bars he's admitted too...
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 05, 2013, 01:56:04 PM
My thoughts exactly, lets not forget to include Getty Cheif Council Lisa Wilmer  when responding to a getty complaint.  Don't want anyone to feel left out, just sayin... ;)

Great catch Greg!!! Seattle attorney Timothy B. McCormack would probably shit a brick, if this little snipper was included in a complaint the the 3 bars he's admitted too...
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Mulligan on January 05, 2013, 01:58:05 PM
Cranky fish and Greg, excellent find!

I've added this important statement to my preparation folder for a declaratory judgment, which is my route of continuance if I ever hear again from the collection goons at Getty Images or from that copyright troll and collection agent Timothy B. McCormack or his paralegal Ashanti A. Taylor of Seattle, Washington.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 05, 2013, 02:07:29 PM
I have also included the fact that Mr. McCormack references cases that have no relevance to the Demand Letter to try and scare people with fear of huge court judgments against them and include a copy of Oscar’s beautiful letter to Mr. McCormack.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/115619890/Oscar-Michelen-Defense-Letter-to-Timothy-B-McCormack-Demand-Letter
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on January 07, 2013, 10:52:31 AM
Well done Gregg and Cranky Fish.  Isn't this
Quote
Extortion is theft by threat if a person obtains property of another by threatening to accuse anyone of a criminal offense.
what every Getty letter I've seen does?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on January 07, 2013, 12:38:50 PM
Well done Gregg and Cranky Fish.  Isn't this
Quote
Extortion is theft by threat if a person obtains property of another by threatening to accuse anyone of a criminal offense.
what every Getty letter I've seen does?

yes pretty much....the difference being and the part Getty Images, Masterfile and the rest of the trolls don't like...is the fact that "extortion" is a criminal offense, while copyright infringement is a "civil" matter... thats why they hate being called extortionists, but yeah criminal or civil...give me your money or else all equals the same thing...
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on January 07, 2013, 02:04:01 PM
So the question is, if we have a judge who says it is extortion, and we have the letters that do what the judge says is extortion, do we have a criminal case against Getty?

Or do the criminal courts see the definition of extortion differently than the civil courts?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 10, 2013, 08:50:11 AM
I don’t know if the court can say in a case that this is an extortion letter as they are supposed to listen to the evidence that is presented before them.  It is the lawyer’s job to bring this up, however it appears to me that they were issuing a warning that if the issue had been brought up it might not have gone well for them and to let future victims who may be sued to pay close attention to the wording and tone of the letters you have received.

With all the good nuggets of information we have had over the last few days I am going to have a lot to update on my ready-to-go letters.

Still waiting to hear back from the SEC on Jonathan Klein / Getty stock option back dating investigation, I really want to see these documents.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 20, 2013, 10:48:46 AM
I just filed a request with the Washington State Attorneys General Office for all complaints filed with them since Roberts request in May of last year.  When I receive these I will get Robert copies so he can add them to the ELI library.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 29, 2013, 05:05:25 PM
I heard back today from the Washington state Attorney General's office that my request for all complaints filed against Getty Images since Roberts request last year has been accepted.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/122848776/Response-from-WATG-for-Public-Records

I still have not heard back from the SEC as to my requests for their investigation into Jonathan Klein and Getty images for the backdating of stock options. If I do not hear from them by February 4 which is two months since they acknowledge receipt of my request I will query them as to the status.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Oscar Michelen on January 29, 2013, 05:15:03 PM
Yeehaw! Wonder how many there are?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 31, 2013, 08:26:21 PM
Moving right along, got an email response today my request is being transfered to the correct department.  I guess the online form just goes to the main office.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/123263890/01-31-2013-Response-From-WATG-for-Public-Records
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: kerrylee on February 01, 2013, 02:38:22 PM
Glad to have found this site. We just got our Getty letter for $900.00. I felt like a complete idiot since I was a lawyer and thought I was so careful. All our images are our own or ones I purchased royalty free. Unfortunately someone who was to start a program with us gave me a flyer with images. I put them on our website. I didn't even think to ask where the images came from thinking she had the right to use them - which she probably does but I can't locate her. Of course, the program never started so we gained no revenue from the images.

Knowing it was strict liability, I just assumed we were completely doomed. Luckily after seeing this forum I realized that while Getty's position is legal, it's really unethical. It's a heavy burden for a small business owner to know that they must ensure every image they use is legitimate. I knew. I'm careful and I messed up so the average business owner is unlikely to know. I get that artists should be compensated but in this day and age where kids take great photos with their phones, asking enormous amounts of money is insane. If I remember correctly from my econ class, a dying industry, which would be managed photos, milks as much as they can before the industry completely dies.

I'll be doing research on how the California Federal Courts hold in this area. I'll post anything interesting. Meanwhile what does someone think about contacting the Chamber of Commerce en masse? The Chamber of Commerce on a national level seems to have some sway. 
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on February 01, 2013, 03:38:44 PM
Not that it matters, but even if you did "find" this person who gave you the flyer and even if this person licensed the image, Getty wouldn't care, the license is non-transferable...meaning you still are in the wrong to use it..just another example of how people get caught up in the whole mess..
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Beanpole on February 01, 2013, 08:48:10 PM
...while Getty's position is legal, it's really unethical.

I'm surprised by the common acceptance that Getty's position is legal. They're accusing you of infringing their copyright without offering proof that they possess any such right. Who knows whether they do or not? I'm not in the US and I don't know US law, but I'd guess that if they don't have the appropriate license, the accusation and payment demand must be very illegal indeed.

It's a given that they operate unethically, and that lack of ethics could easily extend to not checking their facts before firing off a demand. It's happened before (35 times in a single case, if I remember rightly). At best, surely, their position may be legal, but without proof you can't possibly know.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on February 01, 2013, 08:51:17 PM
...while Getty's position is legal, it's really unethical.

I'm surprised by the common acceptance that Getty's position is legal. They're accusing you of infringing their copyright without offering proof that they possess any such right. Who knows whether they do or not? I'm not in the US and I don't know US law, but I'd guess that if they don't have the appropriate license, the accusation and payment demand must be very illegal indeed.

It's a given that they operate unethically, and that lack of ethics could easily extend to not checking their facts before firing off a demand. It's happened before (35 times in a single case, if I remember rightly). At best, surely, their position may be legal, but without proof you can't possibly know.

valid point BeanPole...however doesn't much matter if it's legal or not, cause none of these cases ever get to court anyway...and if it did, and it was shown they ( Getty) did not own the image(s), yeah they'd be in hot water...which is a big part of the WHY they don't sue..
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 02, 2013, 03:39:58 PM
Getty and other trolls operate in a grey area of the copyright law, most find it disgusting but you would need to get them before a court and to obtain their records through discovery to get anywhere unless you can tighten up the current copyright laws.  This is why we call it “Legalized Extortion”.  Getty Images knows that they are straddling the fence line of legality with one foot on each side, while the copyright law is statutory and allows compensation regardless of how the image in question was displayed very few courts would find in favor of a company that refuses to provide the reasonable request proof to letter recipients trying to reach a reasonable settlement nor would the courts if the case were not thrown out as de minimis likely award anywhere near what was being asked. It would cost both sides more in legal fees than the rendered judgment in a federal district court would seriously frowned upon having their time wasted on a $200-$500 case.

We have already seen where courts in their opinions and judgments in reference to what the copyright, P2P and patent trolls are doing are starting to use the word extortion but I’m not sure what the courts can do until somebody actually brings the case in front of them claiming extortion. If I had the financial means I would try to find a way to bring such a case against Getty.

So Getty will continue to send out there letters and make their threats knowing that a great many will pay out of fear and until the laws change or they are spanked in court hard enough that it sinks in they will continue to ride the legalized extortion money train.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 04, 2013, 10:43:35 PM
It looks like my experiment against Getty may be working as I heard back from the Washington State Attorney General's Office today on my request for all complaints filed against Getty images since April 2012. I spoke to Robert tonight and asked him how many CDs of complaints he received and he said he believed it was just one in the postage was only a couple of dollars. I was informed that my search yielded six CDs worth of information and over $10 and postage. It will be very interesting to see what information is on here and of course I will make it public and share it with all freely.

If anyone is interested the letter may be found here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/123892752/02-04-2013-WTAG-Request-for-Records-Results
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on February 05, 2013, 06:37:59 AM
I'm going to confirm this today, I can't believe they have 6 cd's...thats a lot more in a year or so..even if much of the info is "fluff"...
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 05, 2013, 06:44:08 AM
Agreed and my complaint will be in there and my original packet sent was over an inch thick.  My new packet in now ready to burn on a CD as I don't want to injure any postal workers or deplete the rain forests :)

I'm going to confirm this today, I can't believe they have 6 cd's...thats a lot more in a year or so..even if much of the info is "fluff"...
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: justme123 on February 08, 2013, 04:41:47 AM
Greg, I've just been reading through the 13 pages on this topic & just wanted to tell you you're doing an OUTSTANDING job. I'm in the UK, when Getty took over Picscout they also employed some small companies to work for them, basically to send out the letters & chase for the so called money owed. One of these companies is ipprotection.net. The 2 names involved are David Tyler (or Dave as he likes to call himself) and Scott Christian Davis. They have been mentioned on these forums elsewhere. All the research I've done on them has shown them in a bad light as you would expect working along side Getty/Picscout.

I know this isn't directly linked with your case but the more places we get these people named & shamed the better right. Here is the link to their topic on ELI - http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/uk-getty-images-letter-forum/ipprotection-net-letter/

Here is the link which states that Picscout have taken on smaller companies in the UK - http://www.picscout.com/press-releases/picscout-enlarges-legal-partner-program-to-support-image-revenue-recovery-throughout-the-united-kingdom-for-photographer-and-stock-agency-clients.html

Keep up the good work, you inspire me to keep fighting back  :)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 08, 2013, 08:55:39 AM
Welcome to the fight!  You can use this strategy with them as well; name their company and them personally in your complaint letters.  I did that in my letters personally naming my copyright compliance specialist Douglas Bieker along with Getty images for extortion.  You make these people uncomfortable enough they will move on to easier prey.  Good luck and keep us posted.

Greg, I've just been reading through the 13 pages on this topic & just wanted to tell you you're doing an OUTSTANDING job. I'm in the UK, when Getty took over Picscout they also employed some small companies to work for them, basically to send out the letters & chase for the so called money owed. One of these companies is ipprotection.net. The 2 names involved are David Tyler (or Dave as he likes to call himself) and Scott Christian Davis. They have been mentioned on these forums elsewhere. All the research I've done on them has shown them in a bad light as you would expect working along side Getty/Picscout.

I know this isn't directly linked with your case but the more places we get these people named & shamed the better right. Here is the link to their topic on ELI - http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/uk-getty-images-letter-forum/ipprotection-net-letter/

Here is the link which states that Picscout have taken on smaller companies in the UK - http://www.picscout.com/press-releases/picscout-enlarges-legal-partner-program-to-support-image-revenue-recovery-throughout-the-united-kingdom-for-photographer-and-stock-agency-clients.html

Keep up the good work, you inspire me to keep fighting back  :)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Mulligan on February 08, 2013, 10:59:12 AM
Greg, I'm going to put $10.68 in the mail to you to cover the cost of the CDs from the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office. I feel guilty about not being willing to help with the SEC investigation (because of my cynicism regarding redacted documents) so this little gesture will hopefully help me sleep better at night, if Mrs. Mulligan will ever let me out of the dog house.

If you'll PM me your mailing address, I'll make this happen promptly.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 08, 2013, 01:11:06 PM
My friend, you don’t need to feel guilty and you don’t need to do send that to me.  I have already sent out the check to cover the postage.  You are correct that it is somewhat risky, but I have uncovered a pattern with this company of unethical business practices which in my opinion seem to come from the head Jonathan Klein.  Since Getty admitted that it happened and they reissued a financial to their stock holders with a 38 million dollar correction I am betting that this is not a clerical error and want to see and expose what the SEC found.  I don’t know if the investigation was halted when Getty took the company private like it halted the stock holder lawsuits of if it was completed but four cases of Getty company info is awful hard for a freak someone like me to walk away from especially when they are afraid to even let anyone see their contributor agreement.

Greg, I'm going to put $10.68 in the mail to you to cover the cost of the CDs from the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office. I feel guilty about not being willing to help with the SEC investigation (because of my cynicism regarding redacted documents) so this little gesture will hopefully help me sleep better at night, if Mrs. Mulligan will ever let me out of the dog house.

If you'll PM me your mailing address, I'll make this happen promptly.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 19, 2013, 07:23:32 PM
Today I received the first CD from the Washington state Attorney General's office which contained nine complaints on it. I found it interesting that the complaints seem to be coming in rapidfire as there was one complaint received on January 18 of this year, one complaint received on January 17 of this year, two complaints received on January 15 of this year, one complaint received on January 14 of this year, two complaints received on January 11 this year, one complaint received on January 9 of this year and one complaint received on December 27 of last year.

I will be posting these complaints very soon once I have all of the fluff edited out and have them down to just the complaints.

There was one very interesting item I noticed that Getty's standard boilerplate letter responding to the complaints has changed. Many these complaints are now calling what Getty is doing extortion which is what I suggested in my experiment against Getty should be done. Also Getty appears to be mentioning me and my campaign as they mention:

Quote
"The campaign to file complaints against us is misguided and misdirected"
  :) ;) 8)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126298848/New-Getty-Response-Letter

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Moe Hacken on February 19, 2013, 09:00:26 PM

Quote
"The campaign to file complaints against us is misguided and misdirected"
  :) ;) 8)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126298848/New-Getty-Response-Letter

Greg, this is the highest compliment the trolls could possibly lay on you. This is what it sounds like When Trolls Cry.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 19, 2013, 10:29:47 PM
I was smiling from ear to ear when I realized what this was saying.  Basically, Getty is complaining to the AG about me.  We are getting the word out that you shouldn’t ignore it, you don’t have to take it and you can fight back!


Quote
"The campaign to file complaints against us is misguided and misdirected"
  :) ;) 8)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126298848/New-Getty-Response-Letter

Greg, this is the highest compliment the trolls could possibly lay on you. This is what it sounds like When Trolls Cry.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 20, 2013, 08:53:37 AM
The more I think about this statement from Getty the more it bothers me. I believe the same could be said for Getty settlement demand letter program. Shortly above this statement Getty claims that what they are doing does not meet the definition of extortion, while I firmly believe in the intellectual property rights of the artists and for them to make legitimate and fair claims on infringement this is not what Getty does. According to Wikipedia the definition of extortion is as follows:

Quote
Extortion (also called blackmail*, shakedown, outwresting, and exaction) is a criminal offence of unlawfully obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion.

If you look at what Getty does I believe it is so close to this definition if not completely meeting it. I will use my case as an example. I let it be known from the beginning that while I did not agree with Getty's demand for money I was willing to negotiate a reasonable settlement in the only thing I was asking for was proof of their claim which they responded would only be provided when they took me to court. I had my lawyer send them a letter stating if they could not provide proof due to some confidentiality agreement we would both be willing to sign one binding us to only discuss the information with Getty for the purposes of settling the claim to which Getty responded they cannot provide this proof because it would take too much time and cost additional money, again proof would only be provided when they sue me. They also sent me the final notice letter stating if I did not pay it would be escalated to their legal Department. So here we have Getty trying to coerce me to pay while providing no proof of their claim in light of the fact I made clear several times I was willing to negotiate a fair settlement in all they had to do was to show me proof they had rights to the image in question which is reasonable in light of Getty V Advernet.

It is Getty's use of these tactics which ultimately led to me starting my complaint letter campaign and encouraging others if they agreed with me and felt as strongly as I did to send in complaint letters of their own. Maybe Getty should take the hint if there is such an increase in complaints that it requires this additional statement in their responses to the Attorney General's office that maybe they need to rethink their business model and perhaps adopt one more like Glen Carner has of late.

           

Quote
"The campaign to file complaints against us is misguided and misdirected"
  :) ;) 8)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia on February 20, 2013, 04:46:52 PM
Boy that image is copied all over the place:
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbs=simg:CAESXRpbCxCo1NgEGgIICgwLELCMpwgaNAoyCAESDPkH6AfqB80H0AfpBxog5qdHd7m3b0aFl9r2T6SXBs2wp2o5Z3bX1IOHlJhX2QcMCxCOrv4IGgoKCAgBEgRHAiqMDA&q=resume+writing&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=0EAlUZiyIYTYqQHu24GIDw&ved=0CEIQsw4&biw=1334&bih=833#q=resume+writing&hl=en&tbs=simg:CAQSXRpbCxCo1NgEGgIICgwLELCMpwgaNAoyCAESDPkH6AfqB80H0AfpBxog5qdHd7m3b0aFl9r2T6SXBs2wp2o5Z3bX1IOHlJhX2QcMCxCOrv4IGgoKCAgBEgRHAiqMDA&tbm=isch&source=lnt&sa=X&ei=J0ElUeuNKM_vqQH81oG4BQ&ved=0CCEQpwUoAQ&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42661473,d.aWM&fp=dac7d204fa1ac4fa&biw=1334&bih=833

The photographer is named David Gould.  There appear to be several photographers by that name.

I read Getty's response and they want to complain about someone requesting proof of copyright suggesting the person might be 'confused'.  But in fact,  it perfectly  fair for a letter recipient to try to find out if Getty has a valid and *license* permitting them to demand money.  In that context, it is certainly fair for the letter recipient to want to see a *registration* as that's not only required in court but also helps pin down whether the Getty has a valid exclusive license that would permit them to demand money on behalf of the copyright owner.

The fact that copyright exists at the moment the image is created is not particularly relevant because that fact is insufficient for *Getty* to have a right to demand money on behalf of "their client". Getty needs to be able to show that the copyright holder *is* their client and that *Getty* has a right to demand the money.  A person asking for proof of registration is hardly "confused" about copyright law. Possibly, they don't know how to word a letter to Getty-- but they know that they want proof that *Getty* has a right to demand money on behalf of whoever the copyright holder is!

 
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on February 21, 2013, 09:16:32 AM
Lucia, I completely agree.

What galls me is that the arguments Getty is making to the Attorney General don't even make sense to me.  I hope that someone with a sense of the law in the AG's office can see this.  I hope this doesn't just go through some clerical process where someone checks a box that says that Getty responded appropriately.  Because I think their response is a bunch of BS.

I also find it funny that there is no signature on the response.  Perhaps no one wants to take credit for bending the law to their desire.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia on February 21, 2013, 01:16:59 PM
This is interesting.  This flicker account shows that image and lists it as copyrighted by


Quote
License
    Copyright All rights reserved by onebuckresume

Download
    Download the Medium 500 size of this photo

Sizes

            Square 75 (75 x 75)   
            Square 150 (150 x 150)   
            Thumbnail (71 x 100)
   


You can read more here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/onebuckresume/7062907037/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on February 21, 2013, 01:59:42 PM
"The campaign to file complaints against us is misguided and misdirected"

BOO HOO! :D

Gee I wonder where Getty would like this campaign to be guided and directed. Personally I think the campaign to extort money out of current and potential customers is "misguided and misdirected." But that ain't stopping anyone.

I wonder, is it possible to offer up a rebuttal to their rebuttal? I'm sure the D.A. does not need to be reminded that Getty seldom (never?) provides proof that THEY control the copyright to an image in question, that the image is properly registered, and that the image is exclusively theirs to represent. But maybe a little reminder is a good thing.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 21, 2013, 02:58:07 PM
Once I receive all six CDs of Attorney General complaints I am already planning a follow-up letter to the Attorney General asking at what point there will be enough complaints to investigate this company for extortion. I also have included an cited quite a bit of case law backing up my claim.

I also have a couple of other things in the works which I am not at liberty to talk about at this time since Getty reads the forums and I don't want them to have a heads up. ;)

"The campaign to file complaints against us is misguided and misdirected"

BOO HOO! :D

Gee I wonder where Getty would like this campaign to be guided and directed. Personally I think the campaign to extort money out of current and potential customers is "misguided and misdirected." But that ain't stopping anyone.

I wonder, is it possible to offer up a rebuttal to their rebuttal? I'm sure the D.A. does not need to be reminded that Getty seldom (never?) provides proof that THEY control the copyright to an image in question, that the image is properly registered, and that the image is exclusively theirs to represent. But maybe a little reminder is a good thing.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on February 21, 2013, 03:03:43 PM
Greg that post just put the glorious image of some Getty Images legal drone staring into his computer, setting down his powdered sugar donut, and saying, "uh-oh."
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 21, 2013, 03:15:08 PM
I like that mental image :). If this goes well I think Getty may be saying.... "Could we please just go back to that misguided and misdirected letter writing campaign?  ::)

Greg that post just put the glorious image of some Getty Images legal drone staring into his computer, setting down his powdered sugar donut, and saying, "uh-oh."
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 21, 2013, 09:32:08 PM
Here are the complaints from the Washington State Attorney Generals office that were on the fisrt CD with the fluff removed.  The next CD is due to ship to me on the 28th.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675143/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-1

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675147/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-2

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675148/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-3

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675150/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-4

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675152/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-5

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675155/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-6

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675156/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-7

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675160/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-8

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675161/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-9
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Mulligan on February 22, 2013, 11:27:12 AM
Greg, thanks for your work on the latest complaints.

I found several useful legal citations in this particular complaint, citations that have gone into my declaratory judgment recourse file:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675147/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-2

Good job, as always, Greg!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 22, 2013, 11:49:20 AM
Thanks Mulligan, CD number two of 6 should arrive at the end of the month and I will get those up shortly thereafter too.  I'm not sure why they are only sending around 10 at a time, maybe because there is a lot of boilerplate stuff and they have to go through and redact passwords to access Getty's online payment system and other items like that.  We have all seen these letters and I remove this part and leave the meat so you guys don't have to wade through the same replies to every letter from Getty.
Greg, thanks for your work on the latest complaints.

I found quite several useful legal citations in this particular complaint, citations that have gone into my declaratory judgment recourse file:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/126675147/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-2

Good job, as always, Greg!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 05, 2013, 10:21:14 AM
Here are the complaints from the Washington State Attorney General’s office that were on the second CD with the fluff removed. The next CD is due to ship to me on the March 7th.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580954/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-10

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580959/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-11

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580960/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-12

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580961/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-13

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580964/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-14

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580969/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-15

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580971/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-16

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580977/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-17

http://www.scribd.com/doc/128580988/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-18

Here is the current running complaint count (for both CDs), looks like they are coming in at a pretty good pace to the AGs office

Jan 18, 2013 – 1 Complaint
Jan 17, 2013 – 1 Complaint
Jan 15, 2013 – 2 Complaints
Jan 14, 2013 – 1 Complaint
Jan 11, 2013 – 2 Complaints
Jan 09, 2013 – 1 Complaint
Dec 27, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Dec 19, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Dec 10, 2012 – 2 Complaints
Dec 05, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Dec 03, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Nov 20, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Nov 19, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 11, 2013, 10:35:39 PM
Here are the complaints from the Washington State Attorney General’s office that were on the third CD with the fluff removed. The next CD is due to ship to me on the March 14th.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847387/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-19

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847762/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-20

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847765/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-21

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847400/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-22

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847402/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-23

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847405/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-24

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847409/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-25

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847413/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-26

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847415/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-27

Look closely at complaint #22.  Here is our first look at a response to a complaint from the Washington State Bar Association about Mr. McCormack.  It looks as if they are telling Mr. McCormack he must provide all the proof that the letter recipient has asked for to them for review, mark anything confidential as they were going to forward it to the complainant minus the confidential stuff.  I imagine the contributor agreement would not be forwarded.  I find it of interest that the Bar Association requires this information to see if the Getty/McCormack claim of infringement is valid yet Getty/McCormack expects us to blindly pay when they refuse the same requests for proof from us.  Getty v. Advernet, just sayin…….

Here is the current running complaint count (for both CDs), looks like they are coming in at a pretty good pace to the AGs office


Jan 18, 2013 – 1 Complaint
Jan 17, 2013 – 1 Complaint
Jan 15, 2013 – 2 Complaints
Jan 14, 2013 – 1 Complaint
Jan 11, 2013 – 2 Complaints
Jan 09, 2013 – 1 Complaint
Dec 27, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Dec 19, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Dec 10, 2012 – 2 Complaints
Dec 05, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Dec 03, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Nov 20, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Nov 19, 2012 – 2 Complaints
Nov 14, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Nov 07, 2012 – 2 Complaints
Nov 01, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Oct 31, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Oct 23, 2012 - 1 Complaint
Oct 17, 2012 – 1 Complaint
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Matthew Chan on March 11, 2013, 11:27:31 PM
WTF! That is an unbelievable complaint letter #22.

I almost feel sorry for McCormack. That has got to be the heaviest letter against an copyright extortionist attorney I've seen in a long time.  It appears the onslaught and ongoing series of complaints is finally taking its toll.  The Attorney General's office is clearly getting too many complaints in a relatively short amount of time to ignore.

And while I am gratified that this letter campaign is working, it is Getty Images and its extortion team that is getting away with murder. (That is a figurative term, not literal, for the litigant-prone.)

How Timmy thought he could keep pounding away with all these extortion letters without providing any substance is beyond me. Most of the in-house Getty attorneys couldn't survive financially or support themselves outside the protective walls of their corporate mommy.

If I had to choose, I respect Timmy more than the in-house Getty flunkies he works for.  Timmy is stupidly taking all these arrows in the back for the Getty flunkies.  I absolutely hate the way Timmy makes money but he is out in the wilderness supporting his own office.

It's really tragic that Timmy can't seem to transition to something else and let Getty do their own dirty work. But if Timmy wants to put himself in that position, that is his choice.

This so-called "misguided and misdirected" letter campaign appears to be working in spades! Greg gets credit for spearheading this.

This is what happens when what should be a "loss recovery" model becomes into a greedy "revenue" model.

One of these days, someone is going to squeal on how Getty internally operates and reveal their quota and incentive system to maximize extortionate sales... oops, I mean collections.

I would also like to commend the Getty and McCormack letter victims for having the courage to stand up, speak out, and put their complaints in writing.  (Greg's cutting edge campaign letter program absolutely works!)  I applaud these victims unlike another faction of victims of a certain copyright extortionist (that shall go unnamed) who simply want a shoulder to cry on, let someone else take the bullets in the back, and stupidly pay in.

Quote
http://www.scribd.com/doc/129847400/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-22
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 11, 2013, 11:56:50 PM
Just to clarify the WSBA letter is the Washington State Bar Association and was not from the Washington State Attorney Generals office.  The letter reciepient filed complaints with the AG's Office as well as the WSBA and included a copy of the response from the WSBA along with his complaint to the AG.  Mr. McCormack might blow off the AG's office with boilerplate letters but I doubt he would do so with the WSBA as they are much quicker to action.

Looking at the running totals on the complaints now, and we are only half way through receiving them, I plan to send a letter to the AG's office once I have them all asking what is the tipping point for them to start to investigate and act. 

The grand total on complaints right now stands at 84 complaints filed with the AG's office, and 96 complaints with the BBB.

http://www.bbb.org/western-washington/business-reviews/photographs-stock/getty-images-in-seattle-wa-37000916
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 26, 2013, 05:31:41 PM
Here are the complaints from the Washington State Attorney General’s office that were on the fifth CD with the fluff removed. The next CD is due to ship to me on the March 28th.

It appears the fourth CD got lost in the mail as the date of arrival estimated for the CD came and went and then the 5th CD showed up on time.  I have emailed Elizabeth Williamson with the WA AG and ask her to resend the fourth CD.

Complaint #31 is a good one and looks like another Bar Association complaint was filed against Mr. McCormack. 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132513794/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-28

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132513803/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-29

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132513830/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-30

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132513851/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-31

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132513862/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-32

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132513883/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-33

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132513887/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-34

http://www.scribd.com/doc/132513893/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-35


<<--EDIT-->>

Note: In fairness of reporting and trying to make sure I am accurate with my facts, complaint 31 may not be legitimate, Getty Images has just sued Virtual Clinics for copyright infringement and if it is proven in court that this is a false complaint I will remove it from this list and it will not be included in the stats.  You may read the complaint Getty filed here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/135014487/Getty-v-Virtual-Clinics


I will keep you posted as the trail progresses. 
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on March 26, 2013, 05:44:51 PM
There are some nice tid-bits in # 31 that I may choose to use if I have to write additional letters to bar associations and agencies complaining about  McCormack's behavior.

Thanks for that Greg!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on March 26, 2013, 06:56:17 PM
Wow! That is pretty scorching. I wonder how much longer Tim will continue to (mis)represent the Getty claim with a "V." or "Vs." Bet that practice will be coming to a close.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 26, 2013, 07:50:39 PM
I don't know, I saw a letter where it had all the unrelated cases listed in it again after the last several prior to that had them taken out. 

Wow! That is pretty scorching. I wonder how much longer Tim will continue to (mis)represent the Getty claim with a "V." or "Vs." Bet that practice will be coming to a close.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Khan on March 27, 2013, 05:33:13 PM
Complaint 31

Did you see that they are in Switzerland ? Normaly GI use this lawyer doing the sh... work:

http://www.mplaw.ch/eng_team.html

How comes that Tim is doing this ?

Khan
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Khan on March 27, 2013, 05:36:04 PM
Sorry I posted to fast  :)

GI uses a. m.  (http://www.mplaw.ch/eng_team.html) law office for their  swiss cases so it is odd that Tim comes in too
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 27, 2013, 07:39:35 PM
It looks to me that the Swiss Company is headquartered there, there is a branch in the US that designs sites and the company that Getty is going after is in the US and had their site designed by this company.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: bondnj on March 30, 2013, 12:23:07 PM
Greg,
The combo of the WSBA response in #22 and the #31 complaint are pretty damming. I haven't heard anything recently but the Associations will be next when I do...Thanks for all that you do!
Tony
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 30, 2013, 07:01:11 PM
You are very welcome Tony :)

Greg,
The combo of the WSBA response in #22 and the #31 complaint are pretty damming. I haven't heard anything recently but the Associations will be next when I do...Thanks for all that you do!
Tony
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 30, 2013, 09:20:06 PM
I received the fourth CD in the mail today, it had been misdirected as I thought and was sent to a Law Office in California who was nice enough to forward it to me.

I saw something interesting in complaint number 36, if you go to page 5 of the complaint you will note that the letter recipient called the actual artist to apologize for using the image.  I found what the artist said very interesting and informative, he said and I quote…..

Quote
“He appreciated the call, informing me that the legal use was out of his hands, and noted that he “wouldn't see any monies from any lawsuits anyway”

So in other words, Getty says sign with us, give us exclusive rights to the image, we have control over when and how we pursue any alleged infringements and if we do pursue and collect we keep it all and you get nothing.  I am still trying to get my hands on one of the contributor agreements so I can verify this and many other things I have heard complaints about from artists.

Another interesting item I have noted in the more recent responses to the Attorney General’s office is that Getty has started putting their confidentiality/non-disclosure clause at the bottom of their responses.  I can’t help but wonder since they know that I post the complaints if this is to try and keep me from posting their responses and letters. They should know anything submitted to the Attorney General becomes public record and is fair game, but they have nothing to worry about as the letters are all boilerplate and I remove them and just leave the meat so you all don’t have to read the same responses over and over again.

One final item, complaint number 40 is a perfect example of why this is called “Legalized Extortion”, the complainant said …..

Quote
I was in a panic and so sent the payment by creditcard. Now that I've had time to reflect, I am outraged at this company for engaging in what I believe are predatory business practices and bullying.

Here are the complaints off the latest cd:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180058/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-36

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180064/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-37

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180068/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-38

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180071/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-39

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180073/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-40

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180075/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-41

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180078/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-42

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180080/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-43

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133180081/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-44
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on March 31, 2013, 09:53:21 AM
If it is true that the photographer does not see dime one from any lawsuits, this gives Getty and even larger incentive to seed the market with photos.  If they license them, the photog gets paid a portion of a small amount.  If they seed the market and sue, Getty gets to split a large amount with McCormack.

I want to start a campaign to get Oscar seated as U.S. copyright judge and czar (to use this administration's vernacular).  Then he could ride in on a white horse and throw all these crooks in a federal pen.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 31, 2013, 10:35:38 AM
I don't know if it is true or not, that is why I really want to get a hold of an up-to-date contributor agreement.  This may also be part of the reason why Getty claims confidentiality and refuses to provide a copy of the agreement when requested. 

That would kind of make sense though, if Getty is talking about protecting the artist rights and the artist should be compensated for their works (which they should, just not at extortion levels), you request proof and they send you an agreement that says Getty gets it all and the artist gets nothing their whole story goes up in smoke.  We would be left with what this is, nothing more than a business model to grab as much cash as they can.

If it is true that the photographer does not see dime one from any lawsuits, this gives Getty and even larger incentive to seed the market with photos.  If they license them, the photog gets paid a portion of a small amount.  If they seed the market and sue, Getty gets to split a large amount with McCormack.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on March 31, 2013, 11:08:23 AM
Can't one of us take a photograph and put it up on getty and take a look at their photog agreement?  They have to let the photog see it, don't they?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Kyle Shaw on April 01, 2013, 10:56:08 AM
I know it's suggested to read the posts already left to acquire answers to questions, but there are so many threads and posts here, the effort would be like finding a needle in a haystack. So here's my situation. The office I work for had a website designed by a friend of the owner, he used free images found online with no visible attachment or ownership claim (sound familiar?), and several years after a letter came from Getty. It was ignored at the behest of the boss, who said the amount was ludicrous and was determined it was a Phishing scam. But just to be safe, the photo was removed within days. Every 3-4 months another Getty letter came revisiting the same issue, all we're ignored. Then after a quiet period, maybe 6 months, a McCormack letter came. Every few months since another has followed and the last stated it was their "final warning"! All of McCormacks letters have been ignored as well. From what I've seen this is the best response...don't give them anything to work with, such as a response, a worried phone call, etc...am I right? Since the last letter said final warning, what will be their next step? Anybody? Will they send a certified letter? Should I ignore that? Will they call? Should I not return those calls? E-mail? Ignore those too? Since they have (apparently) never taken a case to court, can I just go on ignoring them and have no concern? This has been going on for, I think, about 3 years. I heard there is a statute of limitations of 3 years, but what "exactly" does that mean, and not mean? Could someone shed some light on that for me, and tell me if just ignoring them has been shown to be most effective. People ask all the time on these threads if someone has been taken to court, what happened, etc. If all these guys are going to do is bluff, bluster, and lie, then I will just keep ignoring them. I'd rather not answer them in any way! I'd just like to know what to expect going forward from someone's experience based on what I've done so far and where I am in the process. Perhaps one of you can send me (a URL perhaps) to the proper thread(s) for answers to this. Thanks in advance for any answers.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on April 01, 2013, 11:08:09 AM
If it is one photo, I doubt that they will sue.  I am not sure if they will sue for 100 photos.  In my  opinion, their letters are a phishing scam - under the guise of protecting their copyright.  They try to learn whatever they can and get the "mark" to incriminate himself.  To lose a case in court, would put a large damper on what they collect under the guise of protecting their copyright - so they work hard to collect money out of court.  Previous cases have indicated that they do not have their legal paperwork in order to win in court.

The statute of limitations under the DMCA runs 3 years from the time they first discover the copyright infringement.  It would be good to keep the first letter which is the earliest date you can prove the infringement.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on April 01, 2013, 11:31:37 AM
I know it's suggested to read the posts already left to acquire answers to questions, but there are so many threads and posts here, the effort would be like finding a needle in a haystack. So here's my situation. The office I work for had a website designed by a friend of the owner, he used free images found online with no visible attachment or ownership claim (sound familiar?), and several years after a letter came from Getty. It was ignored at the behest of the boss, who said the amount was ludicrous and was determined it was a Phishing scam. But just to be safe, the photo was removed within days. Every 3-4 months another Getty letter came revisiting the same issue, all we're ignored. Then after a quiet period, maybe 6 months, a McCormack letter came. Every few months since another has followed and the last stated it was their "final warning"! All of McCormacks letters have been ignored as well. From what I've seen this is the best response...don't give them anything to work with, such as a response, a worried phone call, etc...am I right? Since the last letter said final warning, what will be their next step? Anybody? Will they send a certified letter? Should I ignore that? Will they call? Should I not return those calls? E-mail? Ignore those too? Since they have (apparently) never taken a case to court, can I just go on ignoring them and have no concern? This has been going on for, I think, about 3 years. I heard there is a statute of limitations of 3 years, but what "exactly" does that mean, and not mean? Could someone shed some light on that for me, and tell me if just ignoring them has been shown to be most effective. People ask all the time on these threads if someone has been taken to court, what happened, etc. If all these guys are going to do is bluff, bluster, and lie, then I will just keep ignoring them. I'd rather not answer them in any way! I'd just like to know what to expect going forward from someone's experience based on what I've done so far and where I am in the process. Perhaps one of you can send me (a URL perhaps) to the proper thread(s) for answers to this. Thanks in advance for any answers.


yup there are many posts to dig thru, all of the info here is FREE so YOU can make a decision what is best for YOU and your situation.. I will say if the first letter from getty came more than 3 years ago, they can't do squat..and it would be safe to tell them that the statute of limitations has expired.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on April 01, 2013, 09:21:31 PM
Okay, here is the last batch of complaints filed against Getty Images with the Washington State Attorney General’s office.   I think getting this information out there is making a difference as when Robert asked for all the complaint the AG’s office had on Getty he got 57 complaints, now less than a year later there have been 54 complaints filed since Roberts’s request.

I plan on composing a letter to the WA AG providing this information along with the number of BBB complaints against Getty and other information I have gleaned inquiring what the tipping point is when the AG’s office will take action to stop Getty’s current business model.  In January the complaints were coming in at a rate of almost 1 a day!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515803/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-45

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515808/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-46

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515811/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-47

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515813/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-48

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515818/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-49

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515821/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-50

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515827/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-51

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515830/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-52

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515833/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-53

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133515842/WA-State-AG-Complaint-New-54
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: starmanalpha on April 02, 2013, 12:11:02 PM
Greg & everyone else... thank you for your excellent work on this site.

I have a web design client that received an extortion letter from Getty for a 100px wide image used as a blog preview image. The information you provided will be helpful in writing a response for this client - who is freaking out because of this.

I have been involved in a couple of other intellectual property cases and having spent tens of thousands on attorneys I have learned a great deal about the subject. I don't know if this is shared elsewhere in this forum (I've only had 4hours on so far!) but these facts might help someone in deciding how they will respond.

Again, thanks to everyone here for the great work.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on April 02, 2013, 07:44:45 PM
Welcome to the forums starmanalpha,

I can tell you first off that if you have a web client Getty will not care what you have to say and will continue to pursue your client as the end user. You have a couple of options in your situation, first you can write the letters yourself and have your client send them because as I said Getty will have nothing to do with you in less you are to pay the full amount to them. Second you can retain Oscar and your client will not receive any further communication from Getty and you will not spend thousands of dollars. Third, you can retain another lawyer to handle it for you and lastly you and your client can just ignore the letters.

If this is over one image I can tell you that to date Getty has never sued anyone over the use of a single image here in the states. There last lawsuit for copyright infringement that they filed was Getty V Advernet where Getty sued Advernet for the use of 35 images and ended up winning the case by default by bankrupting Advernet. On the next hearing date when Getty showed up and there was no one on the Advernet side the court rendered a default judgment to Getty. The court then looked at the evidence submitted so far in determined that there was issues with every single image’s documentation that would preclude Getty from collecting any monies on the images. So Getty won but they collected nothing.

I am glad to see that you are joining the fight, continue reading as there is a wealth of knowledge contained here in the forums. Please keep us posted as to your progress and how things go.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Oscar Michelen on April 03, 2013, 11:46:29 PM
Kyle and starman - stinger's response is on the money.   It is highly unlikely they will sue you.  Starman is also correct in that one of the main reasons Getty doesn't sue is that since their images are not registered at the time of the infringement, they cannot recoup their legal fees (though starman - I find your figures are way high even by NY standards). Both of you should look into the letter defense program offered on this site which stops all the noise for $195. - once they receive a letter from me they cannot contact you directly any further. 
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on April 09, 2013, 07:25:43 PM
Note: In fairness of reporting and trying to make sure I am accurate with my facts, complaint 31 may not be legitimate, Getty Images has just sued Virtual Clinics for copyright infringement and if it is proven in court that this is a false complaint and Virtual Clinics did commit willful infringement I will remove it from this list and it will not be included in the stats.  You may read the complaint Getty filed here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/135014487/Getty-v-Virtual-Clinics

I will keep you posted as the trail progresses.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: bernicem77 on April 09, 2013, 08:04:47 PM
I am looking at the copyright applications. Did Getty just obtain the copyright 3 weeks ago? Am I reading that correctly? Many of the photo's were taken  5 or 6 years ago but the copyright is effective March 4, 2013 and March 13, 2013 and some of them are just applications for copyright.

The original complaint to the AG was in 2012.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on April 09, 2013, 09:00:10 PM
Yes, many of them are still in the process of being registered.  It appears as if Getty is trying to register them now and seek a retroactive license going back to the first known infringement.  I'm not sure how this will work or if they can still ask for the legal fees and the 150,000 per image stuff like this. 

I thought the law said you only had 3 months from finding an infringement to register if you were suing for the works but again I may be wrong here too.

Oscar, I need your help on this one as I am as confused by this as everyone else.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on April 10, 2013, 12:22:17 PM
In 2007, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled as follows, concerning "retro active copyrights": "The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that all retroactive copyright transfers and licenses are invalid. In Davis v. Blige,—F.3d—, 2007 WL 2893003, 84 U.S.P.Q.2d 1353 (2d Cir. 2007), the court found that 'retroactive transfers violate the basic principles of tort and contract law, and undermine the policies embodied by the Copyright Act.' Although the decision appears sound under the facts of the case, its broad conclusions could have far-reaching effects in the world of copyright licensing."

Source: http://www.stopgettyimages.com/getty_images_extortion_attempts.htm
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Mulligan on April 10, 2013, 12:28:00 PM
Good link, Jerry. Thanks.

On the same site, the info on the link below is also worth reading and relevant to the current discussion:

http://www.stopgettyimages.com/attorney_scott_t_wilsdon.htm
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on April 10, 2013, 12:33:08 PM
The Getty-v-Virtual-Clinics is an interesting "get" Greg. It appears that Getty is targeting someone who is both going over the top with pirating images Getty claims to represent, as well as people with a previous criminal record. These individuals also host a few sites that are critical of Getty: http://www.stopgettyimages.com

Hard to know who to root for here. If Virtual Clinics is taking stock footage, adding some spots or re-touching it slightly, and then claiming they don't owe Getty for the image, that's a fight they won't win. But if they licensed the image elsewhere or can prove that it was offered for free elsewhere prior to Getty "exclusively" representing it, Virtual Clinics may prevail.

It seems pretty sneaky for Getty to try and register a copyright now. I don't think that will hold up. (See previous post.)

This will be interesting to watch. I think Getty did some calculations and decided that this one had a good chance of returning a default judgement and was worth pursuing. How did this end up in the Washington AG collection anyway?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on April 10, 2013, 12:43:54 PM
So is there a changing of the guard going on here, or is the picture more like this?

McCormack IP Law is really a first line defense to scare people into paying troll fees, or stop them from using photos Getty thinks are theirs.  If they come across a particularly egregious case, it now gets promoted to the law firm of SCOTT T. WILSDON which is allowed to file suit.

I would personally like to see this case drag on for about two years and then be decided in favor the defendant - who may be the lesser criminal in the eyes of many.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on April 10, 2013, 04:12:18 PM
@Jerry, I'll be writing a nice little piece about this case...I've looked into virtual clinics about 1 year ago, and there is more to this story that is for sure... heres a tidbit for you

from stopgettyimages.com:
"After a small animal website provider, refused to pay Getty Images fake invoices, Mr. Wilsdon filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against the owners, who are an elderly part-time retired couple, that provide budget websites for animal rescue, pet adoption organizations, and service dogs.  Getty Images had been utilizing their predatory scare tactics to frighten this older couple for years, however they refused to pay Getty's fake invoices for non-existent copyrights.  Scott Wilsdon filed a lawsuit against this elderly couple on April 5, 2013."

this paragraph is a blatant lie.
a. the "elderly couple" is bogus
b. the suit was filed on the date mentioned, BUT it is against virtual clinics, not an elderly couple.
c. the "elderly couple" develop website as a full time endeavour, they are NOT low cost budget sites, and they are for vet clinics, not non-profit rescues and what not..

look for more in the next couple of days, i'm busy sorting and gather more facts..
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Lettered on April 10, 2013, 07:01:52 PM
If this is what it appears to be ... Getty going after flagrantly infringing web site designers (and not thier innocent customers) then I think it is to be applauded.  If stopgettyimages.com is indeed a smear campaign by said infringers, I think ELI runs the risk of being "rolled up" with them in the eye of public opinion.

If the above pans out as true, I think ELI should put out a press release praising this action by Getty and distancing itself from stopgettyimages.com .

Also, I think the posts in this thread concerning this issue should be move into a thread of their own.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on April 10, 2013, 07:08:48 PM
If this is what it appears to be ... Getty going after flagrantly infringing web site designers (and not thier innocent customers) then I think it is to be applauded.  If stopgettyimages.com is indeed a smear campaign by said infringers, I think ELI runs the risk of being "rolled up" with them in the eye of public opinion.

If the above pans out as true, I think ELI should put out a press release praising this action by Getty and distancing itself from stopgettyimages.com .

Also, I think the posts in this thread concerning this issue should be move into a thread of their own.

I will be making a post along these lines on copyright-trolls.com, and furthering that by making a thread here, at which time I will move some of these comments... I suggested to Matt that he make a blog post about this on the front side of ELI, as I agree this will bolster our postition that we do indeed respect copyright, and that we do indeed believe that artists should be paid for their work.. It has ALWAYS been my position, that it is the way the troll conduct themselves that is not right.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: SoylentGreen on April 10, 2013, 07:40:20 PM
Getty's registering the copyrights retroactively?  That's the lamest tactic that I've seen in ages.
Also, many thanks to Jerry for pointing out the recent changes in law in relation to this.
Even before these changes, there was only a narrow window of time wherein something could be "registered retroactively".
Some of you may recall how Getty in particular used to try to play the "registration game" on a regular basis in earlier days.
Oscar in particular made note of the practice.  He was a bit steamed about it.

Before we "side with Getty" on this one, let's be sure that we have all of the facts.
That way, we won't have egg on our face if it turns out that Getty's just as scummy as the alleged infringer(s).
Making copyright registrations after the fact makes me a bit less sympathetic to Getty.

S.G.


Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on April 10, 2013, 10:10:18 PM
No they are not, I went back and read it again (damn it's long) and what they are doing is on images that were already registered they are asking for statutory damages and on ones that are not they are registering them and asking for actual damages.  It looks like they have learned from Advernet and are doing this one right.

It will still be interesting to see what virtual clinics has to say, from the complaint it appears pretty willful but we have only heard one side.  If it was willful then I don't feel sorry for them.

Getty's registering the copyrights retroactively?  That's the lamest tactic that I've seen in ages.
Also, many thanks to Jerry for pointing out the recent changes in law in relation to this.
Even before these changes, there was only a narrow window of time wherein something could be "registered retroactively".
Some of you may recall how Getty in particular used to try to play the "registration game" on a regular basis in earlier days.
Oscar in particular made note of the practice.  He was a bit steamed about it.

Before we "side with Getty" on this one, let's be sure that we have all of the facts.
That way, we won't have egg on our face if it turns out that Getty's just as scummy as the alleged infringer(s).
Making copyright registrations after the fact makes me a bit less sympathetic to Getty.

S.G.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: PM on April 11, 2013, 12:13:29 AM
I have a question that nobody may have thought about.  Since the majority of images that Getty claims to own or manage do not have a registered copyright, what would happen if a victim of the Getty Scam were to register the alleged infringement image themselves and then claim Getty is the infringer?  What a twist. 
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Lettered on April 11, 2013, 06:02:50 AM
I have a question that nobody may have thought about.  Since the majority of images that Getty claims to own or manage do not have a registered copyright, what would happen if a victim of the Getty Scam were to register the alleged infringement image themselves and then claim Getty is the infringer?  What a twist.

Anyone attempting such would almost certainly find themselves in a very bad position I think.  The registration is a formality that allows addtional damages.  Actual copyright ownership is created when the image is created. 

Lets say you ignored all of that and registered their image using their redistributable jpeg file before they get around to it.  Then the photographer produces a raw file from his camera of the image, and of course you cannot.  How do you explain yourself?  You would then be in violation of the Criminal Copyright statutes (False Representation) and all the associated fines and consequences and who knows what else (Fraud? Perjury? . . .)

Don't do it is my advice.

Quote
(e) False Representation. — Any person who knowingly makes a false representation of a material fact in the application for copyright registration provided for by section 409, or in any written statement filed in connection with the application, shall be fined not more than $2,500.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on April 11, 2013, 08:15:43 AM
Copyright exists from the moment the picture is taken and belongs to the photographer.  The photog can come after you even if the image is not registered but only for actual damages.  Registering the image allows me to seek statutory damages the  up to 150,000 the demand letters like to quote per image.

I believe there is also a clause in there that says if I find you are infringing I have 3 months from the date I find the infringement to register the image and can then still get statutory damages.  The ones Getty are registering now are outside the 3 month window and Getty is only seeking actual damages on those pics.

I have a question that nobody may have thought about.  Since the majority of images that Getty claims to own or manage do not have a registered copyright, what would happen if a victim of the Getty Scam were to register the alleged infringement image themselves and then claim Getty is the infringer?  What a twist.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: crazycatlady on April 11, 2013, 08:20:38 AM
I'm still a bit confused, and the link to the Stop Getty site doesn't work for me this morning so I can't read the primary source material.  If Getty goes after actual damages, what amount would they seek? The actual license cost? What about business related sites; would they seek other actual damages because an image was used on a business' websites??
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on April 11, 2013, 08:50:03 AM
I'm still a bit confused, and the link to the Stop Getty site doesn't work for me this morning so I can't read the primary source material.  If Getty goes after actual damages, what amount would they seek? The actual license cost? What about business related sites; would they seek other actual damages because an image was used on a business' websites??

yeah the site is down again...Getty will seek the maximum allowed amounts 150k per infringement for the registered images, and actual damages for the images that were not registered...this case involve 18 ( i think) images, so it will be a large amount. If the defendant doesn't show Getty will win by default, and you can bet your ass that Getty and McCormack will shout out about a big win, even though it would be a default judgement.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Lettered on April 11, 2013, 09:49:07 AM
Just some clarifications.  An image HAS to be registered before the copyright holder can sue you in court.  But just to be clear, if you are infringing on an unregistered image, all the copyright holder has to do is register the image and file suite, but only for actual damages (see below *).  I think that generally they dont even bother registering them (if theyre not already registered) during the demand letter stage ... they only bother with that if and when they decide to go to court. 
*If it was registered before you started infringing, then he can get statutory damages and his legal fees.  The registration grace period, as I understand it, allows the photographer to register his image withing 3 months of publication and still have the same options as if it were registered since publication.  If its been 3 months or more since first publication (by the copyright holder) and the image isnt registered there is no way to recover statutory damages and legal fees .... only actual damages.

Its worth noting on registered images, if the infringment can be shown to be unwillfull then the judge is allowed (not required) to lower statutory damages to $200 per infringement.

I know ... clear as mud.
Copyright exists from the moment the picture is taken and belongs to the photographer.  The photog can come after you even if the image is not registered but only for actual damages.  Registering the image allows me to seek statutory damages the  up to 150,000 the demand letters like to quote per image.

I believe there is also a clause in there that says if I find you are infringing I have 3 months from the date I find the infringement to register the image and can then still get statutory damages.  The ones Getty are registering now are outside the 3 month window and Getty is only seeking actual damages on those pics.

I have a question that nobody may have thought about.  Since the majority of images that Getty claims to own or manage do not have a registered copyright, what would happen if a victim of the Getty Scam were to register the alleged infringement image themselves and then claim Getty is the infringer?  What a twist.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Lettered on April 11, 2013, 11:11:59 AM
For what its worth I threw together this visual that shows the flow of a demand as I understand it.  The heavier the line the more likely the path as I see it.  This my understanding of a Getty situation.  For Masterfile there probably needs to be more weight on the lines involving registration.

Maybe someone more artistically inclined than me can correct and enhance the idea of putting this into a flowchart. 

http://i1366.photobucket.com/albums/r771/mcrasterhd/copyright_zps71ae7918.jpg
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: crazycatlady on April 11, 2013, 11:19:39 AM
The graphic was a big help; thank you.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on April 11, 2013, 07:29:10 PM
You are correct that Getty does not bothered to register images during the demand letter phase. I know I had question the registration on the image my demand letter was about an Getty replied to me basically saying they don't know if the artist has the image registered or not but the image would be registered prior to suing me.

Just some clarifications.  An image HAS to be registered before the copyright holder can sue you in court.  But just to be clear, if you are infringing on an unregistered image, all the copyright holder has to do is register the image and file suite, but only for actual damages (see below *).  I think that generally they dont even bother registering them (if theyre not already registered) during the demand letter stage ... they only bother with that if and when they decide to go to court. 
*If it was registered before you started infringing, then he can get statutory damages and his legal fees.  The registration grace period, as I understand it, allows the photographer to register his image withing 3 months of publication and still have the same options as if it were registered since publication.  If its been 3 months or more since first publication (by the copyright holder) and the image isnt registered there is no way to recover statutory damages and legal fees .... only actual damages.

Its worth noting on registered images, if the infringment can be shown to be unwillfull then the judge is allowed (not required) to lower statutory damages to $200 per infringement.

I know ... clear as mud.
Copyright exists from the moment the picture is taken and belongs to the photographer.  The photog can come after you even if the image is not registered but only for actual damages.  Registering the image allows me to seek statutory damages the  up to 150,000 the demand letters like to quote per image.

I believe there is also a clause in there that says if I find you are infringing I have 3 months from the date I find the infringement to register the image and can then still get statutory damages.  The ones Getty are registering now are outside the 3 month window and Getty is only seeking actual damages on those pics.

I have a question that nobody may have thought about.  Since the majority of images that Getty claims to own or manage do not have a registered copyright, what would happen if a victim of the Getty Scam were to register the alleged infringement image themselves and then claim Getty is the infringer?  What a twist.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on April 12, 2013, 11:22:29 AM
Lettered, that is a great and useful chart for anyone analyzing the possible outcomes of "The Letter". But I would suggest adding notes that in most cases Getty Images is NOT the copyright holder. Is some cases they are not even the "exclusive" representative of an image.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: starmanalpha on May 02, 2013, 02:23:33 PM
Here's an update from my client...

I wrote a response letter for my client to Getty regarding the preview image supposedly used on their blog. The image was 100px by 133px - so really small.

1) We removed the image as soon as we were notified. This alleged infringement was unintentional at best and we want to keep it that way.

2) The image was used on a blog post discussing a news story and was not commercial - not directly. So we are claiming fair use. Probably not the best line but it was a paragraph non the less.

3) We send a document showing the same image on hundreds of sites via Google search. Many of these sites had publish dates in excess of 6 years so they are not hell bent on finding infringers if I can find so many in 5 seconds. Though we only pointed out that the image was prolific.

4) We searched their catalog and found the image was in a different color than the one in their catalog.

5) Keeping the above in mind how could we be sure Getty was indeed the legal copyright holder? We asked for the original copyright claimant and any assignment or granting of exclusive rights including the right to enforce violations.

Last week they sent a reply via FedEx. It's basically a similar form letter to the ones already posted. It more or less ignores the documentation requested on grounds of confidentiality. It also lowers the requested amount and puts in a nice fast date to make the receiver think fast. My client was actually out of town and thus didn't even get the letter till after the date had passed.

The most interesting thing was that the response letter DID NOT COME FROM AN ATTORNEY - but rather from Getty's "Copyright Compliance Department." Not sure if this shows a shift in strategy to keep the heat off from the AG and WA Bar.

Our reply strategy will be to ask for documentation on the copyright claimant and any assignment so we can be sure we are dealing with the right entity. We are willing to agree to confidentiality if needed but until we have that information we cannot simple assume Getty is telling the truth.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Jerry Witt (mcfilms) on May 02, 2013, 05:26:45 PM
5) Keeping the above in mind how could we be sure Getty was indeed the legal copyright holder? We asked for the original copyright claimant and any assignment or granting of exclusive rights including the right to enforce violations.

You can't and that's why so many have an issue with Getty. It seems they are unable (or unwilling) to provide the chain of title to the image and prove they are the exclusive representative of that image.

Once you draft a letter saying you cannot discuss any settlement until such documentation is delivered, keep it handy. By all reports you'll need to send it out a few more times as GI continues to pester you.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Oscar Michelen on May 03, 2013, 02:06:06 PM
Getty usually sends it to an attorney (Tim McCormack) as part of round three in communication.  They send their form letter by Fedex because they think it will make you believe they must be serious about his.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on September 09, 2013, 09:55:36 PM
Okay, It's been a long while but I have an update for those who are following this. 

I received an e-mail Friday from the SEC on my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get the documents relating to the SEC investigation into Jonathan Klein and his top officers backdating stock options. 

It basically said that we are about 12 months out from them getting to my request and if I still wanted to continue with the request.  Here is the email, my response and the documents.

 http://www.scribd.com/doc/166887419/9-7-SEC-Request-to-Continue

http://www.scribd.com/doc/166887420/9-8-SEC-Response-to-Request-to-Continue

Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: media on September 16, 2013, 10:29:19 AM
Greg,
Thank you for great help...

I have exact case like yours...
Letter sent...
Thanks
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on September 16, 2013, 11:36:51 AM
Welcome to the forums media,

Please keep us updated as to what you do and your results.


Greg,
Thank you for great help...

I have exact case like yours...
Letter sent...
Thanks
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Matthew Chan on February 08, 2014, 12:42:27 AM
Congratulations to Greg Troy who started, organized, and nurtured this very important thread since July 2012.

This thread has been specifically linked by Christopher Zara as "first-person accounts" in the recent February 7, 2014 International Business Times article:

Getty Images Lawsuits: Enforcement Or Trolling? Fear Of Letters Dwindling, Stock-Photo Giant Hits Federal Courts
http://www.ibtimes.com/getty-images-lawsuits-enforcement-or-trolling-fear-letters-dwindling-stock-photo-giant-hits-federal

Thank you Greg for your contribution to the recent International Business Time article!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 08, 2014, 07:23:55 PM
 :D

Congratulations to Greg Troy who started, organized, and nurtured this very important thread since July 2012.

This thread has been specifically linked by Christopher Zara as "first-person accounts" in the recent February 7, 2014 International Business Times article:

Getty Images Lawsuits: Enforcement Or Trolling? Fear Of Letters Dwindling, Stock-Photo Giant Hits Federal Courts
http://www.ibtimes.com/getty-images-lawsuits-enforcement-or-trolling-fear-letters-dwindling-stock-photo-giant-hits-federal

Thank you Greg for your contribution to the recent International Business Time article!
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: media on February 11, 2014, 12:57:48 PM
Welcome to the forums media,
Please keep us updated as to what you do and your results.
Hi Again,
Well, after months back and forth mailing... We come to 4th letter and I offer a price for image in question and wanted to settle but I request
Quote
I need the following information from you as you are presenting me with a Settlement Demand but no documentation supporting your claims or the amount requested.
1.   I need to see verification that the image was filed with the U.S. Copyright Office
2.   Verification that the copyright is either for the individual image or a group of images.
3.   I need a copy of the signed contract, assignment or other documentation between Getty Images and the artist transferring copyright and giving you exclusive rights to the image as you have stated in your letter.
4.   Sales history and records of this image and prices received for the image.

above information and I have NOT heard anything since (Nov to now)

Waiting...
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 11, 2014, 06:46:34 PM
Thank you for the update media.  After 4 letters the next step will most likely be their final attempt and "Notice of escalation" letter, then you will be contacted by NSC Solutions, McCormack IP Law or both.

Hang tough and keep demanding proof of claim.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 14, 2014, 04:05:24 PM
Okay, it is time for me to get my yearly update on complaints filed against Getty Images with the Washington State Attorney General's Office.  I will try and get my request in by Monday and as always will make the complaints available to all.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on February 15, 2014, 09:37:00 PM
I filed the request tonight for complaints filed against Getty Images since my last request a year ago.

I also requested ALL complaints pertaining to McCormack IP Law, Timothy McCormack and Lauren Kingston.  I have never narrowed this down before but I am wondering how many complaints he has.  I still wish State Bar complaints were public record as I would love to see what McCormack Legal has filed against them

Here is a copy of the request for those who are interested.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/207332302/1-0-WTAG-Request-for-Records-Request
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 02, 2014, 12:20:03 AM
I received a reply back from the Washington State Attorney General's Office. Looks like it has been passed to the correct department and I should hear something more soon.

They said they can not find any complaints and the McCormack request, I have either phrased the request incorrectly or they are all lumped in with Getty.  I have many complaints that came along with the Getty requests in the past.  I will research this and possibly resubmit the request.

Here is a copy of the letter I received.

Quote
February 25, 2014

Mr. Gregory A. Troy
3023 Ash Court
Mason, OH 45040

Dear Mr. Troy:

This letter is to acknowledge your public records request which we received in our office via email on February 18, 2014.  You requested the following:

1.   . . . copies of all complaints filed against Getty Images of based in Seattle Washington for since January 2013 to present.

2.   I would also like copies of all complaints filed against McCormack IP Law of Seattle Washington (all complaints please) McCormack IP Law is based at 617 Lee Street, Seattle, WA 98109.  Records for this Law firm may include Timothy McCormack, Lauren Kingston.

Regarding category #1, we have searched our records and found that the only potentially responsive documents will come from our Consumer Protection Division.  Therefore, your request has been reassigned to Mr. Beck Meyer of that Division because they keep their own database of consumer complaints.  Mr. Meyer will contact you directly.  Please direct all further communication regarding this request to:

Mr. Beck Meyer
800 5thAvenue, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 389-3849 
[email protected]

Regarding category #2, despite our search of the places likely to contain responsive materials, we were unable to locate any records of complaints filed regarding the entities named by you. 
 
The Headquarters' portion of your request is now closed.  If you have any questions, please contact the undersigned. 

Sincerely,
S. GREENE
Senior Public Records Officer
Public Records & Constituent Services

/sg

cc: Beck Meyer, Consumer Protection Division


-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2014 4:28 PM
To: ATG WWW Email AGO temporary
Subject: Contact AGO - Public Records Request

The following message has been submitted to staff at the Attorney General's Office.  While we make every effort to respond promptly, depending on the complexity of your request and the volume of messages received, it may take more time for our staff to respond.  We appreciate your patience. Please do not respond directly to this message the as ATG WWW Email AGO mailbox is unmonitored.  If you need to reach us again, please return to this form:
https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ContactForm.aspx

Troy, Gregory A.

Email Address: [email protected]

Address:
3023 Ash Court
Mason OH 45040

Address Type: Home

Phone: 513 XXX-XXXX
Phone Type: Home

Subject: Public Records Request

Message: Greetings,

I would like to request copies of all complaints filed against Getty Images of based in Seattle Washington for since January 2013 to present.

I would also like copies of all complaints filed against McCormack IP Law of Seattle Washington (all complaints please)  McCormack IP Law is based at 617 Lee Street, Seattle, WA 98109.  Records for this Law firm may include Timothy McCormack, Lauren Kingston.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and if you require any additional information please feel free to contact me.

Reagards,

Gregory Troy


Previous Contact: Yes
Date: 01/22/2013

Regarding:
Requesting complaints filed against Getty Images for the previous year.

Declared By Name and Date:
Name: Gregory Troy
Date: 02/15/2014

Submitted on: 2/15/2014 4:28:14 PM

Consumer protection issues constantly change, with new scams and threats emerging every week.  To be automatically notified, please consider signing up for one or more of our newsletters (https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAAG/subscriber/new) to keep up-to-date on the latest AGO news, opinions, consumer alerts, Ask the AG columns, and blog posts.

You can also follow us on the social networking sites Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/agowa), YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/washingtonago) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Olympia-WA/Washington-State-Attorney-General/72791983303).
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 06, 2014, 08:10:01 AM
I heard from the Washington AG's office.  They should have the latest round of complaints ready for me in about 10 days.  once I receive them I will get them scanned and added to my Scribd account so they may be viewed.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia on March 07, 2014, 08:00:40 AM
Quote
f all complaints filed against McCormack IP Law of Seattle Washington (all complaints please) McCormack IP Law is based a
Maybe you need to say that "make mention of" in "include mention to" or something like that? Because they may be filed "against" Getty, with McCormack acting for Getty.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 07, 2014, 08:25:26 PM
If they are lumped in with Getty I will get those with the Getty Complaints.  A good percentage of the Getty complaints deal with Mr. McCormack. 

I was looking to see if any were falling through the cracks or if he had received any for the other companies he sends settlement demand letters out for.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 13, 2014, 04:48:32 PM
I received a reply for the WSAG today and they will be sending me the complaints on file for the last 12 months.  I was informed that there will be 12 CD's sent out.  Last years request yielded 5 CD's so on the surface it looks like the complaints are increasing. 

I will be sending a follow up letter after all complaints are received and the data added in asking what the threshold is before a business is investigated.

If you would like to read the letter or any of the previous complaints they may be accessed here: http://goo.gl/bKLykL or here: http://goo.gl/gBS9CI

The complaints will be made available as they arrive.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: lucia on March 14, 2014, 06:06:15 PM
Will the CD's permit text recognition?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on March 14, 2014, 08:59:52 PM
They are PDF scans but I have the full version of Acrobat reader that will see the documents and convert them back to text.  I do this to all files before I put them on Scribd.

Will the CD's permit text recognition?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on May 12, 2014, 02:32:48 PM
I have finally received the last of 9 CDs of complaints filed against Getty Images and McCormack IP Law from my public records request of the Washington State Attorney General’s office. As many of you know each year for the last three years there has been a request for these public records filed against these two businesses.

In the past I have just taken the complaints, removed the fluff (to see what I removed see below) then made the complaints available through my Scribd account doing nothing more than reporting on the number of complaints and commenting on one or two that stood out to me. This year I decided to combine all my data together making a master index of complaints so you can see at a glance when it was filed, who it was filed against and who filed it.

On June 18 of 2012 I launched an educational and letter writing campaign aimed at readers who like me, tried to negotiate with Getty but felt that they were being treated unfair, unreasonable and/or unethically by Getty Images and/or McCormack IP Law. It encouraged readers to take a stand and fight back by letting the Attorney General and other agencies know of predatory practices which I consider to be a form of legalized extortion. This campaign was acknowledged shortly thereafter by Getty Images when the following two paragraphs were added to their standard form letter response to complaints filed against them.

Quote
“The complainant characterizes our attempts to settle our copyright infringement claims as “extortion.” However, our communications with them do not in any way constitute “wrongful threats” within the meaning of extortion statutes. On the contrary, demand for payment and satisfaction of a legal claim is not wrongful conduct.

We understand that copyright law can be confusing; however, the campaign to file complaints against us is misguided and misdirected. We encourage review of the license compliance information provided on our website at: http://company.gettyimages.com/license-compliance/.”

While I agree with the statement that demand for payment and satisfaction of a legal claim is not wrongful conduct, I do strongly disagree with the practice of demanding more than an image is worth or they could expect to win in court, as well as the absolute refusal to provide documentation proving that Getty Images has the legal right to collect on behalf of the artist. Getty will tell letter recipients who make it clear they are willing to negotiate, but are requesting proof of claim, that said proof will only be provided when compelled by a court of law through discovery. In other words letter recipients are told that the information they are requesting will only be provided when they are sued by Getty. This statement is usually followed by another demand for payment with threat of escalation to their legal department if payment is not made. So I say that demanding payment, refusing to provide proof of claim and then threatening legal action qualifies as and meets the definition as a form of extortion.

It is this practice by Getty, McCormack IP Law, Masterfile, Corbis and others that has led me to start Copyright Anti-Bullying Act and attempt to change the current copyright law so it not only protects artist’s rights but closes loopholes and quashes predatory behavior from companies like these.

Breaking Down the Numbers
If you look at the index of complaints the dates that are listed in black represent the seven years yay-9865464prior to the education and letter writing campaign. The dates listed in green are eighteen months of complaints filed after the start of the education and letter writing campaign. You may also click on the headers below to see the complaints displayed graphically on year-at-a-glance calendars.
 
Getty Images:
54 complaints in 7 years prior to campaign
117 complaints in 18 months after campaign
 
McCormack IP Law
3 complaints in 7 years prior to campaign
30 complaints in 18 months after campaign

The list of complaints may be seen here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/222235974/1-2-Index-of-Compaints

At-A-Glance Calendar showing Getty Images complaints from 2005-2013
http://www.scribd.com/doc/222235973/1-3-Getty-Attorney-General-Complaint-History

At-A-Glance Calendar showing McCormack IP Law complaints from 2005-2013
http://www.scribd.com/doc/222235972/1-4-McCormack-Attorney-General-Complaint-History
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on May 12, 2014, 02:53:05 PM
Greg,

You are a special person to go through the time, trouble, and effort it takes to organize and put all this information together.  Thanks for everything you do!

My only question now is, "What will it take for the Washington State Attorney General and the Washington State Bar Association to do something about this?"

Is there some way that we should present Greg's summaries back to the AG and Bar Association so that they cannot claim they missed what is going on?
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on May 12, 2014, 03:35:15 PM
I don't want to post too much here as we know Getty/McCormack IP Law reads our threads, but there will be follow up on this with the AG's Office.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on October 20, 2014, 10:58:12 PM
An update on the Freedom of Information Act Request I have in with the SEC in regards to the investigation of CEO Jonathan Klein and top officer backdating stock options when the complaint was public.  I heard from the SEC last week and I am still on the waiting list.  They did say at the outset it could take up to two years to get the reports.  I informed them I am still very much interest in the reports.  I will keep everyone posted as I get updates.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on June 19, 2015, 07:28:14 PM
I have just sent in my annual request for all the complaints filed against Getty Images and McCormack Law since my last request a year ago.  I will be interested to see how many there are this year.  My guess is there will be fewer since Getty seems to have lowered their demands somewhat and they are hurting in general.

As always I will post my results when I have them.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 11, 2017, 12:23:53 AM
Well, it looks like this thread may have to become active again since it looks like Getty is trying to get into the censorship business.  Getty is sending out C&D letters through the French Law Firm of Cabinet Bouchara-Avocats demanding under French law that blog post, article and sites be taken down because of what is being negatively said about Getty and their business model. 

I have received said letter and have posted my first article on it over on Getty Images Must Change.

http://gettyimagesmustchange.com/site/getty-images-now-trying-to-control-free-speech-and-limit-opinions/
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Matthew Chan on January 11, 2017, 07:16:55 AM
And here, I thought this discussion thread might get retired.  I guess we have to thank French lawyer, Vanessa Bouchara, for pissing off Greg with her obnoxious and ridiculous censorship letter.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 12, 2017, 10:10:30 AM
Two days ago on January 10, 2017 I received a cease and desist letter from the French Law firm of Cabinet Bouchara - Avocat on behalf of Getty Images stating I was guilty of "acts of gross disparagement"  for reporting on Getty Images business model and using phrases like "...The settlement demand letter sent out by Getty and McCormack, in my opinion, are designed to panic and instill fear in the letter recipient."   You can read the entire letter in the link above.

Needless to say I was not happy with the letter or the attempt at censorship by Getty Images.  I had thought Getty was improving, their letters had been toned down and less threatening, the amounts they were asking for seemed much more reasonable.  In fact until receiving this letter I had not felt the need to write an article about Getty in almost two years.  The letter appears to be an attempt to remove negative comments throughout the interwebs,

I now am riled up again and have opened my folder of ready-to-go complaint letters and am getting ready to start informing all those who received these attempted censorship letters the can respond with complaints to the proper agency.  There is a definite legal threat in these letters as they state if the articles/site/blog are not removed within 8 days of receipt of the letter then they have been instructed by Getty to "initiate all appropriate action against you".

Here is the letter I drafted and sent in reply....

January 11, 2017
Ms. Vanessa Bouchara
Cabinet Bouchara Avocats
17 rue du Colisée - 75008 Paris

RE: Getty Images Cease and Desist Letter sent to GettyImagesMustChange.com

Ms. Bouchara,
I received your cease and desist letter in the mail on January 10, 2017 by registered letter. You sent it to the wrong address and it took a few days to catch up to my new address. I must say I was a little surprised by it.  After looking you and your law firm up, I see you claim to be intellectual property specialists. I was very confused as to how you assume French Law would apply to me and my website being an American citizen operating a U.S. based website directed at U.S. citizens.  My site contains document-supported, fact-based reporting accompanied by my personal opinions on your client’s business practices.

The Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage (Speech Act) states that foreign defamation judgements are unenforceable in the U.S. unless the foreign findings are consistent with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  All statements on my site that are not document-supported are my OPINION which is fully supported by my First Amendment rights. I also believe that under French Law, any claim against me or my site must be made within thirty days of the original posting, not 30 days from when you noticed it. Prior to receiving your letter, my last post was almost two years ago. This is a moot point anyway, as I stated my opinions are protected speech.

You accuse me of “acts of gross disparagement seriously damaging Getty Images’ image” yet I believe it is your client who is doing it to themselves by doing things like having foreign law firms send me letters threatening me with legal action over protected speech using foreign law.  This, Ms. Bouchara, is the type of letter I refer to as “harassing”, “bullying“ and “unethical“ and the type of behavior I have come to expect from your client.  Why does your client not attempt this with a U.S. lawyer?  Because, in my opinion, they know it has no merit and are hoping that the letter recipients will panic and fear the implied imminent lawsuit and take their websites, articles, or blogs down.

You state in your letter that if I do not comply with your client's demands, they will “initiate all appropriate action against me”.  Again, it is vague but threatening and definitely an implied legal threat.  I will tell you right now that I have no intention of complying with your client's demands and fully intend on reporting on all this and your clients attempts at censorship of free speech.  The last time your client threatened me with the possibility of legal action after refusing to negotiate in good faith, I ended up launching a campaign to inform recipients of your clients letters that if they felt as I did and Getty Images refused to provide proof of claim or negotiate in good faith, they could file complaints with the Attorney General and other agencies.  It appears this resulted in 117 complaints filed with the Attorney General in the 18 months. I tracked it.

Your client's new letter attempting to remove free speech they do not like has irritated me enough that I am considering starting the campaign up again reaching out to all those you have sent these letters to.  I really do not want to do this, I have better things to do with my time.  I am willing to let everything go and dismiss this if I receive an apology from you, Ms. Bouchara, and your client along with dismissing this claim.  If I receive these apology letters or emails, I will do a follow up article showing your client has withdrawn their claim and apologized.  I truly hope we can end this amicably.

Regards,

Greg Troy
GettyImagesMustChange.com

I will now wait and see if I get my apology or not. As always, I will keep you posted.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 13, 2017, 08:35:28 PM
I have an update, I did receive (somewhat of) an apology from Vanessa Bouchara of Cabinet Bouchara - Avocat in the form of an email saying your apology is in the mail.  I informed her that while I accept her apology I am not dropping the matter until I receive an apology from her client Getty Images as well.  I informed her without the apology from Getty I plan to start filing complaints again over the attempted censorship of First Amendment rights.

All the letters back and forth are documented here:

http://copyrightantibullyingact.org/site/update-on-the-getty-images-cabinet-bouchara-avocat-censorship-letters/ (http://copyrightantibullyingact.org/site/update-on-the-getty-images-cabinet-bouchara-avocat-censorship-letters/)
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: stinger on January 15, 2017, 10:46:23 AM
It's good to see this thread active again Greg.  Welcome back into the ARENA.
Title: Re: An Experiment Against Getty
Post by: Greg Troy (KeepFighting) on January 16, 2017, 08:10:03 AM
It's good to see this thread active again Greg.  Welcome back into the ARENA.

You can thank Vanessa Bouchara for it but either way glad to be back.