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Messages - stinger

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Getty Images Letter Forum / Re: NCS IP Solutions Email Getty Image
« on: August 09, 2017, 09:03:57 AM »
It looks to me like Getty has upped their game from the days of McCormack Law.  I didn't see any misspellings, grammatical errors, or misappropriations of the law.

Perhaps they believe that starting less threateningly will allow them to get more fish on the hook.  Maybe they are saving the nasty stuff for when they are sure you exist (they have a live one). 

It's interesting that you are being contacted on two fronts:  from Getty and from NCS.  Does that seem wrong to anyone else?

Getty Images Letter Forum / Re: Copytrack extorsion letter
« on: July 27, 2017, 08:44:20 AM »
I'm not a lawyer, but I think the costs of filing suit in the U.S. and trying to collect from someone in Central America would certainly discourage them from suing.  What do others here think?

I would expect that having removed the images, they will go away.

Legal Controversies Forum / Re: Copyright Controversy of the Year?
« on: July 16, 2017, 11:50:42 AM »
Thanks for posting.  I hope we don't see Getty trying to collect on those monkey photos in the future.

Higbee Associates Letter & Lawsuits Forum / Re: Higbee and Adlife
« on: July 12, 2017, 09:03:53 AM »
It seems to me that they will never take their claim to court against you because they absolutely have to know that a competent judge will not put up with what they are doing.  Therefore, it strikes me that they are trying to scare you into paying them something (for nothing).

Some people will hold their ground and fight.  Others will cave and pay.  Still others, thinking the fight will be long and expensive, negotiate to a price they think will cost less than the fight.  Which one are you?

There is plenty of information out there on the internet about Adlife's history and tactics.  I think the more you learn and arm yourself with information about their history, the more likely you will choose to fall in the first group.

But I'm just a guy who watches this stuff from afar and despises how copyright trolls use the system to take advantage of honest folks.  So take this comment for what it is worth.

I think they were in the $40-50K region with my firm.  That was quite a few years ago.  There were lots of images (40-50, I think).  Getty never did anything.  McCormack IP Law, saying they represent Getty, came at us a couple of times.  That ended when we pushed back hard.

I would have admitted using the images and I don't think they could have won, if I could have found a way to prove what happened.  My story is on this forum somewhere.  Have a look, if your interested.  I did learn a lot through the experience and did my best to share it with other readers of this forum.


I can't stress enough that if both creators and image users want to see the likes of Getty consigned to history as the parasitic entity that they are, then finding a way to work together directly, cutting out as much of the middleman as possible, is the way to go. Portals like Photoshelter are an invaluable resource towards that goal.

Well said, DvG!

Spend some time reading this forum and get educated.  Learn how the trolling business works.  There is no one answer.  There is no perfect solution.  You have to live with the tradeoffs of whatever approach you take.  Don't be driven by any false deadlines they give you.  And don't communicate with them until you have formulated your strategy.  Right now they may not even be certain that they have reached you.

My only point is that the Statute of Limitations (SOL) (3 years in the U.S.) is your friend.  You are not letting your friend help you by emailing.

First, I don't think you should respond by email.  Why make things easy on them?  Email is free and fast.  Slowing the process down works in your favor.  Also, I am not sure how the courts view email communication versus registered letters.  Email could be undelivered or unseen if it diverts to a spam folder.

Have they proven to you that they own the image in question?  Have they proven to you that they have the right to pursue the copyright infringement?  Have they proven to you that the image is properly registered?  If it isn't, I believe the courts might only award them $200.  That's a losing proposition to them.

If they go to court, they will have to prove (not just claim) all of these things.  If they are unwilling to prove them to you now (which might let them save the court filing fees), something might be amiss.

If you are judgement proof, why offer them anything?

Screw the settlement date.  That's an arbitrary number designed by them to increase their cash flow.

My memory, and experience with Getty, back in that time frame, says that they had lots of images on their Royalty Free Images page that later found their way to the Rights Managed Page.

For a period of time, the Royalty Free Images page looked totally free.  You had to dig really deep to find a price for an image.  If your web page designer was new to this type of work (like mine at the time), they may not have known to go digging for a price.  They may have thought the images were free for the taking.

My take is that Getty was complicit in this.  As a business, I feel it is incumbent upon them to let people know that "Royalty Free" still requires a license and payment.  This was a time when Getty's business was changing a lot, as were their web sites.

When they tried to pursue my firm, through a law firm, for Copyright Infringement on about 50 images, I went back to the wayback machine web site to get a copy of how their Royalty Free Images page looked when my web developer found the images in question.  But Getty had covered their tracks.  They had instructed the wayback machine web site NOT to keep copies of those pages.  Now why would they do that?

We could only speculate.  It could be a business plan type honeypot trap.  It could have been that they realized that they were complicit in a lot of misunderstandings and decided to destroy the evidence and take advantage of the situation.  It could be any number of things because lots of things have changed since then.  Getty ownership has turned over multiple times.  That gives them plausible deniability.  Employee turnover is pretty good as well in a company with their reputation.  It could just be that they make more money on the threat of lawsuits than on actually licensing images.  It sounded and felt like extortion to me, but what do I know.

I chose to fight.  I spent a lot of time on it, but I was not going to be taken advantage of.  You can find my specific story on this site.  I detailed it after my Statute of Limitations had passed.  How you choose to handle your specific situation is up to you.  I think it is wrong that they can ask you to produce a license you may or may not have gotten 12 years ago.  The IRS does not even expect people to keep records that long.

Whatever you choose to do, I don't think they will get legal over one image unless it's a very special kind of valuable image and they know you have deep pockets.  I really don't think they have their act together as a corporation that far back.  Way too much can be exposed about them in a public hearing.

Good luck with your fight and keep educating yourself on this site.  There is lots of valuable information.  Tactics and players have changed over the years.  The one thing that is constant is that Getty sends out a lot of copyright infringement letters threatening legal action and files very few cases.

  Today I went to two attorney websites that specialize in the same stuff you do.  Both of them give some basic do's and don'ts (on their websites) on how to handle situations like this.  They both not ignore a letter from an attorney for copyright infringement.  Naturally, they both suggest getting a lawyer to represent them. They both agree that if you do it on your own then let the attorney know the picture has been removed from the website and offer to pay whatever the going rate is for using the photo.  They warn not to give anymore information than that.  I think that's wise advice and I'm not sure why some people think ignoring this is a good option to take. 

Lawyers work in the court system and use that system to mitigate disputes.  That is not the only way to come out ahead here.  Matt has a reputation on this web site for thinking outside the box and working outside the court system.  He finds ways to discourage trolls from coming after him.  Some of Matt's methods might make lawyers cringe, but they work and are often more cost effective than going to a lawyer.

Jerry Witt has suggested some things that might discourage lawyers from coming after you.  A whole lot of bad PR can hurt a troll operation far more than a small win in court.

In the end, you have to decide what works for you.  But remember, there are no court mandated 30 day deadlines.  All deadlines imposed by trolls are completely arbitrary and dreamed up to further pressure you.  The only deadline I'm aware of in these matters is that the trolls have 3 years from the day they discover an infringement situation, to file with the courts (Statute of Limitations).

Don't be bullied.  Take your time and make the best decision for yourself.

I agree with Clist's advice.  My only additional advice is:

If you really need an attorney, get one that specializes in copyright infringement and digital image law.  A lawyer is a lawyer is a lawyer is B.S.  On this forum, I have seen attorneys that do not specialize in C.I. and D.I. law recommend settling simply because the client or client/prospect has admitted doing something wrong.  The non-specialist attorney does not know his/her way around this topic.

If they really are suing you, I am interested in knowing more.  My experience is that they rarely sue over one image unless it is something special like an A list celebrity or some such thing.  If I were in your shoes, I would contact Oscar Michelen and fight it.  He knows the case law that might apply to your defense and whether or not you should settle.

Read through this forum and you will learn how copyright trolls work.  You will develop a better feeling for what they are doing.

The reason people are telling you not to contact Higbee is because, right now, they are shooting in the dark.  They don't know if they are talking to an honest person with a conscience, a mass murderer, or a turnip that they will never be able to squeeze blood from.

Every time you contact them, they learn more about you. 

I think you screwed up.  Learn from it and don't do it again.  I think what copyright trolls do is far worse than what you did.  They use the law to extort inordinate sums of money from people with means and a conscience.  What they do is not a mistake, it's a (dirty) business strategy.  Many make more money on their trolling business than on their image business.

If you read through this forum you can learn how lots of other people approached trolls and how things ended up.  You can plan a strategy that you can live with.  You will likely have to live with it for the next 3 years.

But put yourself in Higbee's shoes.  Would they sue someone if they didn't know the likelihood of winning?  It costs money to file a suit.  If the image is not properly registered, it is likely the court might come to a verdict of $200 or less.  How much money can Higbee make (lose) by filing $400 lawsuits where they might only win $200 or less?

That's why people are telling you not to contact them.  In the end, you need to live with your choice.  I recommend staying silent and taking all the time you need to get educated before deciding on your strategy.  Any deadlines they give you are arbitrary.

I wonder if Jack W. Pirozzolo , Esq. ,Kenyon D. Colli , Esq. , of Sidley Austin LLP  and Gregory P. Howard , Esq. of Donovan & O'Connor, LLP know about the blog "voices of jupiter florida .com" and that their "Client" Joel Albrizio is the person behind it, pretending to be a woman, making borderline defamatory posts... If they are a well respected law firm, one would think they may not like this behavior very much...I suspect its only a matter of time before it all become very clear to them who they are dealing with.

I disagree.  Most lawyers and law firms love that kind of client because they don't have to work hard to generate more billable hours.  The work just magically keeps appearing.

The attorney makes more money by writing a letter and following up than by right clicking and finding out that no infringement occurred.  If you have a client willing to pay, some attorneys are just going to take their money.

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