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Author Topic: An Experiment Against Getty  (Read 94841 times)

gtilflm

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #90 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?

Mulligan

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #91 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.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 12:45:18 PM by Mulligan »

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #92 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..
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Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #93 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,
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

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stinger

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #94 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.

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #95 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.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 10:47:02 PM by Greg Troy (KeepFighting) »
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

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Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #96 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.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

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stinger

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #97 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.

Moe Hacken

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #98 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.
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Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #99 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.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #100 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.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #101 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.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

stinger

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #102 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.

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #103 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.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

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Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: An Experiment Against Getty
« Reply #104 on: August 28, 2012, 11:12:13 PM »
I think this sums it up and pretty much states my position against Getty. ;D

« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 11:27:41 PM by Greg Troy (KeepFighting) »
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

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