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Messages - scraggy

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Getty Images Letter Forum / A judgement from The Fourth Circuit
« on: July 19, 2013, 10:11:56 AM »

A worrying judgement that may have been useful to Getty in their case against Advernet ( in which neither side had actually signed the agreement in which the exclusive license was transferred ). Scroll down the page for the courts ruling on the registration of a collection of photographs!

The Fourth Circuit held today that the Copyright Act's requirement, at 17 U.S.C. 204(a), that transfers of copyright interests be "in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed," can be satisfied by electronic means. The court said that electronic transfers of copyright interests are permissible because of the federal E-Sign Act, which provides that an electronic contract may not be denied legal effect merely because it was created by electronic means, 15 U.S.C. 7001(a)(2).

My opinion (and this entire post is just that) is that the photographer owns the copyright. He may have transferred an exclusive license to Getty Images ( US ) Inc ( probably in an electronic document not signed by either party (that was frowned upon by the judge in the Getty vs Advernet case ).

Maybe Getty Images ( US ) Inc can sue you. But they are not even the ones threatening you! You say that Getty UK have sent you the letters.

In my opinion, “Getty Images International” – registered in Ireland or Getty Images Devco UK Limited, are not the same company as Getty Images ( US ) Inc,. They don’t have any agreements with the photographers, they don’t therefore own the exclusive license, and they cannot therefore sue you!

Has Getty USA ever sued in Sweden? I doubt it! Has Getty UK ever sued in Sweden? I doubt it!

Why are you worrying? The letters are meant to scare you, but in practice, that’s where it ends!

Courtroom Sketch Artist Sues Getty Images For Copyright Violations

She argues that Getty Images has a pattern of acquiring rights to image archives without first making sure that the sellers are allowed to transfer the images. “Upon information and belief, Getty Images has engaged in a pattern and practice of failing to use due diligence to confirm its copyrights in these collections and has acted in continuing reckless disregard of content creators rights in these collections,” she alleges.

The following is only MY OPINION! I am NOT a lawyer!

Take a look at this document. It shines some light on the situation ( but not too much! )

It's the letter of authorization that Getty Images International ( based in Ireland ) gave to Marot Image of Israel to supposedly give them the right  to sue ( a right that doesn't exist under Israeli law! ). It is signed by one Marek Wystepek, who recently departed from Getty Images International after a long stay! October 2005 – March 2013 (7 years 6 months) I wonder why he left!

It states that Getty Images International is a member of the  Getty Images group of companies. This may indeed be so, but , in my opinion, it doesn't mean that Getty Images International owns the exclusive license granted to its parent company - Getty Images ( US ) Inc.

Look at the bottom of the page. The company is "incorporated in the Cayman Islands" Could that be for tax purposes?


I am not a lawyer although I think I am fairly knowledgeable about copyright laws. However, I know absolutely nothing about International corporate law! Nonetheless, this is my opinion! It is only that! I could be wrong!

An exclusive license can only belong to one person or body. If it belonged to two separate bodies, it couldn’t logically be exclusive to either! In my opinion, there cannot be overlapping exclusive licenses. If Getty Images ( US ) Inc is granted a “worldwide exclusive license” by photographers (see the Getty images contributor agreement, ( )  clause 1.1 -   â€śYou grant Getty Images a worldwide, exclusive right" ) , then ONLY Getty Images ( US ) Inc. has the right to sue.

If a Getty office abroad has been set up as an official part of Getty Images USA, then I assume such an office would also have the right to sue. After all, they are also Getty Images USA.

However, my very non-legal opinion is, that if the foreign office is set up as a completely different subsidiary company, with a local company registration and VAT number, then they are not Getty USA, even though they may be subsidiaries, and may even have VERY similar names.

So here’s what I have found online.

There is a UK company based in London called “Getty Images Devco UK Limited”  - Company Number: 05573785

Details can be found here:

The above page states that they have a parent company called “Getty Images International” – registered in Ireland - Company Number: IE905461, ( incorporated in the Cayman Islands) .

All their details appear here -

On this page, the company is listed as a subsidiary of Abe Investment Lp and Abe Investments Lp belongs to Abe Investment Holdings Inc .

Remember the car freshener lawsuit against Getty ( ) ?  Abe Investment Lp and Abe Investment Holdings Inc were joint defendants with Getty.

Abe Investment Lp purchased Getty USA back in 2008

OK! So here is my two cents worth. Subsidiaries, although owned by parent companies, are not the same as those parent companies. If Getty Images ( US ) Inc. owns the exclusive license, then “Getty Images Devco UK Limited” or “Getty Images International” do not! In my opinion (and I could be wrong!) all three companies cannot sue for the same exclusive license. Only the company that has the signed agreement with the photographer can do that, and that would be Getty Images ( US ) Inc.

What does this mean? In my opinion, I think this means that worldwide, in Sweden, Israel or wherever, ONLY Getty Images ( US ) Inc has the legal right to sue.

Getty UK would send out letters for photographers whom work with their own local office; Getty does have offices in Stockholm, Sweden - so they absolutely could litigate in that country if they wanted to.

Firstly, "lagamba" can easily tell us if the photographer is from the UK by checking the image details on Getty's website. Statistically, I doubt it ! My guess is that the Swedish lawyers send out the same letters we have all seen, and the images are from Getty's database with photographers from all over the world ( whose contracts are with Getty USA ).

Second, according to Getty's own license agreement from February 2013 for rights managed images , it does not have an official Getty office in Sweden. See clause 11.9

However, there are contact details for a Swedish office on Getty's website:

Getty Images Sverige
Gamla Brogatan 17-21
SE-111 20 Stockholm
Tel: 0200 88 75 14
Country Manager:

I am not a lawyer anywhere, yet alone in Sweden, and this is only my opinion.
I know nothing about Swedish law.

But the principles may be the same.

Getty Images USA ( I stress USA ) may indeed have a legal right to sue you for copyright violation. Getty USA may indeed have contracts with photographers, in which the photographers grant Getty USA an exclusive license and right to sue you.

But have Getty USA ever sued in Sweden ? It must be extremely inconvenient for them to sue in Sweden! Is it worth their while suing you? How much will it cost them? What is a local Swedish judge likely to award them ( if anything ? )? They would likely have to translate documents into Swedish, add the photographer to the lawsuit, and fly in representatives. The lawyers can't do it alone! The costs would be high, and any Swedish judge may not be overly sympathetic to a huge American corporation that he may feel is bullying the little guy.

The lawyers can threaten alone! I am sure many people pay up! My feeling however is that Getty USA is statistically unlikely to sue over 1 image in a foreign country.  This doesn't mean that they wont, but the mathematical risk of not settling, and waiting for a lawsuit seems more statistically logical than paying up! In a worst case scenario, you can settle after they sue!

Oh.....and Getty UK, in my opinion, and based on the information available online, is not the same as Getty USA. So would Getty UK, or "Getty Images International" based in Ireland, even have a legal right to sue? After all, the contracts I have seen are between photographers and Getty USA.

Getty Images Letter Forum / Re: I too am a victim of Getty Images
« on: May 22, 2013, 12:29:10 AM »
Now could this be a nice scam?

Ebay has the following as the seller's address
Business seller information
Bringing Books 2 U
K.B. Wells
1 St Marks Road
HP21 8RH
United Kingdom

But on Google maps, look what I found at the exact same address and postal code

Aylesbury Vale Pregnancy Crisis Centre

Address: 1 St Mark's Rd, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP21 8RH, United Kingdom,Aylesbury,+Buckinghamshire,+UK&cid=0,0,18134823656500025659&ei=4kecUbfMIYaftAbtn4HYBA&ved=0CJMBEPwSMAA

Funny! In the Google street view, there's a FEDEX van waiting outside, just waiting to deliver all those CD's!!



I am not a lawyer, but Getty is requesting "actual damages". In my opinion, if this goes to trial and the judge has to determine the actual damages suffered by Getty, the amount awarded, even if Getty wins, would be ridiculously low.

This would lower the amount for all out of court settlements.

The law firm sued may decide that it's not worth their hassle to fight this ( because it isn't! ) , but alternatively, they may fight it all the way, because they wouldn't incur the same costs as other defendants.

One image!? A " de minimis" defense might be all they need here!

My opinion - there is no way a judge will be the one to determine the damages in this case. It's going to end way before that point. Getty would be insane to take such a risk.

Great! So they finally sued for one image in the USA, but in my opinion, they wont see it through, because it's not logical to do so!

Thanks guys!

I certainly don't feel like I lost!
Here is a link ( translated ) to a summary of the conclusion of the case

The fact that no costs were awarded against us says a lot about the judge's feelings in the case. Marot must have spent a fortune defending themselves, not to mention the sleepless nights, which gave them a taste of their own medicine.

I have exposed Marot Image for what they are - a Getty "Master Delegate" that represents Getty in Israel, but does not have the right to sue in Israeli courts. They do not own the exclusive license necessary under Israeli law.

Perhaps as a result of the class action suit, they made errors in other lawsuits, and now there is a clear court verdict that states that whilst Getty may have a right to sue here, Marot has no such right.

Perhaps Getty will now return, as the law demands, but I would advise them not to bother! My lawyer and I will be waiting for them, ready to help everyone who receives any threatening letters. With all the publicity generated by our case, people here will not roll over and pay so easily.

The judges are also not likely to be sympathetic. I think that that "DE MINIMIS" will be an adequate defense.


Sorry to inform everyone that the class action suit came to a halt today.

The judge advised us strongly to withdraw our request, citing the great difficulties ahead!

For example, our request did not come within the consumer protection laws, as required by the class action laws here. Furthermore, there would be great difficulty in canceling the signed agreements between Marot Image and those who had already paid them.

The judge (Anat Baron) had read all the details of the case, and was, in my opinion, being honest and fair. She made no comment regarding Marot’s right to sue, one way or the other.

She did not award any costs against me, which is saying something!

I did my best! The decision by no means gives Marot the right to sue!


You guys are so right. The Jerusalem Magistrate court judge's name is Tamar Bar-Asher Tzaban. She had the easy option of putting her stamp on the plaintiff's request, and drinking her morning coffee. Instead, she absolutely knew what she was doing when she exited her chambers. She was fulfilling her responsibilities, and achieving a degree of justice. When we have an ELI awards ceremony, I think the judge in the Advernet verdict will still win first place.

One other point related to SG's comment. The judge also said that the entire case was right on the border of "de minimis", either just below or just above the cut off line.

Where is the "LIKE" button? Sometimes, I feel such a strong emotional need to "LIKE", and there's no button there!

An unexpected update, and a bonus!

I have been helping a young guy called Yohai who was sued by Marot Image ( Case # 31499-07-11 ) . The pre-trial hearing was set for yesterday morning (Jan 27, 09.00) in the Jerusalem Court.

Last Thursday, Marot’s new lawyers called the defendant, and after some correspondence, agreed to drop their case without paying him costs. They did not ask him to sign anything (he would have, had they asked), and they did not bother to send him a copy of the request they planned to send to the court. Had they sent him a copy; we would have likely not gone to court.

Yohai  (I accompanied him because he had no lawyer) had no choice but to go to court yesterday morning. At 08.45, the judge had still not ruled on their request (because it arrived late on Thursday and courts are closed Fridays and Saturdays here), so we decided to enter the courtroom, and see if we could claim costs.

Marot’s lawyer at first threatened to continue the lawsuit if Yohai insisted on requesting costs, but the judge soon put an end to that threat! She was very clear as to how she would rule if the case continued, and all sides then agreed that the judge could award costs.

Without commenting at all on the merits of the lawsuit, she said, among other things, in an approximate translation:

Suing for 100,000 shekels was totally unacceptable and bore no reasonable proportion to the circumstances of the lawsuit.

She criticized Marot’s behavior, and she was adamant that Yohai deserved to receive costs.

She then awarded costs of close to $1000 to Yohai, and closed the case.

The court documents are in PDF format ( in Hebrew! ), and are posted on the Marot Images Victims Facebook pages!

One week to go till the first court meeting in the class action suit! Too bad yesterday's judge isn't presiding!

Hi Greg,

We have our first court session on Feb 4!

Marot Images has requested an immediate dismissal of the case, to which we replied, and they responded, but unfortunately, the judge has not ruled on their request.

Regarding the court verdict against Marot ( Gili Mazor ) , in which the judge determined that Marot did not have the right to sue, Marot did not appeal.

The bottom line is that the letters have stopped ( for now ) . The class action suit,  their court loss, a Marot victims Facebook page and several online articles written by copyright lawyers, have created a new reality. People are not paying up! The whole system has collapsed! Seven law firms are with significantly less work! Such a shame!

Here is a link to our Facebook page. Join us! I think it increases the Google ranking!

There are still half a dozen or so ongoing court cases. With the score at 1-0, they have nothing to lose! From their point of view, losing 3-0 is no different than losing 1-0. They may as well go for it. Unfortunately, several defendants are without representation.

I will keep you posted!


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