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Comments by Attorney Oscar Michelen regarding Getty Images and ExtortionLetterInfo.com


Oscar Michelen:
Dear Matthew:

Thank you for including a link to my Avvo response on the Getty image subject.  I think your website is a thorough, well-written site that will help many individuals and corporations who have received a Getty or Corbis letter. I also liked the letter you prepared in response to Getty's demand letter.

You are also correct that in order to support the kind of damages Getty is asking for -or indeed to sustain any damages at all- they will need to prove that the user "knowingly" used the copyrighted image without license.That will be impossible to prove for end-users who merely purchased a web banner or website template from a third party provider.  

Finally, I want to further commend you on linking the Chilling Effects website to yours.  Chilling Effects is a site I read and refer to often.  It helps keep me abreast of ongoing concerns and issues in the ever-changing minefield of internet law and the First Amendment.

I represent a number of individuals and companies in the entertainment and publishing field and they have real concerns regarding the content they post and distribute over the internet, particularly those clients with business in the adult entertainment industry. But even those clients of mine in mainstream entertainment have been concerned over aggressive prosecution and litigation in "conservative states."  

Chilling Effects is a one-stop site that even experienced attorneys can retreive up-to-date information on what's going on across the country.  It will be very interesting to see where Getty and Corbis go from here. Please keep me posted on the progress of your case and I will let you and your readers know of any new information or results I come across. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

Matthew Chan:

I am flattered that you would take the time to respond to this forum.  I took the liberty to move your post to a standalone position so that it is better noticed.

I admittedly am not an attorney but I am a quick study and have had my share of dealing with legal issues (usually as a plaintiff, not a defendant).

As you probably know, there are a lot of upset people and there is all kinds of misinformation.  Because I have been drawn into this conflict, Getty Images has unwittingly compelled me to take more of a leadership role in assimilating information and truly learn more about copyright issues.  

In some ways, I have to thank them for this crash-course education.  It is gratifying to me that some people in the legal profession, such as yourself, have offered your professional opinion.  I felt the least I could do is give you some visibility and exposure as my thanks to you.

As you and I know, there are always two sides of a story and argument.  Getty Images has attempted to portray there case as irrefutable.  That is simply not true.

Speaking for myself, although you do not give "specifics", I have read a lot meaning in both of your opinions.  Sometimes, small distinctions make all the difference.

Oscar, if you have any other thoughts you would like to share or perhaps share what your fee might be for people who wish to consult with you.


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