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Author Topic: Is your Getty letter legal?  (Read 8821 times)

Beanpole

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Is your Getty letter legal?
« on: June 01, 2013, 08:13:38 PM »
After removing any image(s) referred to in your Getty letter, but BEFORE you consider replying, check whether your Getty letter complies with UK law.

Sections 82 to 84 of the Companies Act 2006 require all business correspondence (every letter, email or fax) and business websites to include the following:

- registered company name (eg. "Getty Images (UK) Limited")

- registered company address (a real address with a door you could knock on, not a PO box)

- registered company number and country of registration (eg. "Registered in England no. 03728660")

The Getty website doesn't include this information, and nor do the demand letters received by myself and some others (likely all others) on this forum.

Perhaps the company sending these letters has a reason for wanting to hide its identity, perhaps it's not aware of this (very basic) piece of legislation, or perhaps it doesn't give two hoots about breaking the law as long as its gets your money. Whatever the reason, any letters or emails from Getty that omit any of the details above are in breach of the law.

You can report them to your local Trading Standards office and to Companies House: these two organisations are supposed to enforce the Companies Act. Include a copy of the letter you received and point out the breach of the Companies Act. Point out also that this unidentified company is making allegations and threats against you and demanding money; this is not just harmless spam.

In case you need it, Companies House address is:
Companies House, 4 Abbey Orchard Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 2HT

Next, does your demand include a charge for VAT? If so, is a VAT registration number shown on the letter? And is the applicable VAT rate shown (eg. "VAT @ 20%")? And is VAT being charged at UK standard rate of 20%? (If they don't quote the VAT rate, you'll have to do the arithmetic yourself.)

The letters seem to charge VAT at 23% (with no VAT number or VAT rate quoted), and that's the Irish rate. Was your letter sent by an Irish company? Well, of course, you can't tell because the company doesn't identify itself, but it probably looks like it came from a UK company. But maybe the company is registered for VAT in Ireland? Again, who can tell without a VAT reg number. Maybe it's not registered for VAT anywere at all and they just fancy an extra 23%.

If your letters are in breach of UK law as described above, do you really feel like sending these clowns a big cheque with a 23% tip added? I didn't -- I reported them to Companies House and Trading Standards. I've written to various other government depts too, such as HMRC, but CH and TS are the ones that matter most, and they seem to be taking it seriously. The more complaints they get (and the more samples of illegal letters proving that this is an ongoing breach) the better.

stinger

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 11:43:32 AM »
Nicely thought out post!

Way to take it to them Beanpole!

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 09:43:40 PM »
Nicely done and good information for those in the UK
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

Ransom

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 09:40:32 AM »
Hi Beanpole,

I've received a letter today, and has the omissions and irregularities that you mention.  Can I ask, as well as reporting to the various agencies did you reply to Getty Images also?

Thanks,

Lee

Couch_Potato

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2013, 11:20:26 AM »
The letter I've seen which is from 2010 has the VAT number on the first page of the settlement demand (usually the page after the covering letter) which does check out to Getty Images International; address: BLOCK 4 ,BRACKEN BUSINESS PARK ,SANDYFORD INDUSTRIAL ESTATE ,DUBLIN 18

I don't know if letters since then have changed but it's very easy to miss the VAT number as it's not very obvious.

Born Lippy

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2013, 10:10:51 AM »
The letter I received a couple of weeks ago does have the Getty logo and a street address but no company number, country of registration or VAT number.

The VAT is at 23%. 




Beanpole

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2013, 06:39:00 PM »
Hi Beanpole,
I've received a letter today, and has the omissions and irregularities that you mention.  Can I ask, as well as reporting to the various agencies did you reply to Getty Images also?

Hi Lee,
No I didn't. Since the letters were in breach of UK law, I felt there was no need to do anything but report them. I wouldn't dignify them with a response.

I don't know if letters since then have changed but it's very easy to miss the VAT number as it's not very obvious.

There's definitely no VAT number on mine (late 2012), nor a couple of other forum users I've PM'd with in 2013. One user's letter didn't even give a postal address, just a Sheffield PO box.

The letter I received a couple of weeks ago does have the Getty logo and a street address but no company number, country of registration or VAT number.

The VAT is at 23%. 

Yep, that seems to be the current form of the letter. The logo counts for nothing, and the street address is just one part of the required information: if it's Bayham St, London, there are about 20 photo agencies registered to that address, three of which have 'Getty' in their names.

Couch_Potato

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2013, 04:29:09 AM »
The other thing to consider is that the London address is for Getty Images (UK) Ltd whereas it is Getty Images International based in Ireland requesting payment.

If you want to be a real pain in the arse request that only Getty Images International contact you from their registered address in Ireland as they are the company who have been assigned copyright.

Beanpole

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2013, 02:55:32 PM »
I always want to be a pain in the arse :) But I'm not in contact with Getty, so I'm doing that in other ways I hope.

Seriously, though, that's interesting and I didn't know GII is the exclusive licensee of the images. But I think it's beside the point (no offence intended!). The company sending these letters doesn't identify itself, the law requires it to do so, case closed. Returning to arses, if they can't get theirs in gear and comply with the law, they've no business accusing anyone else of anything.

brianjclark

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2013, 03:10:18 PM »
Hi People
Got my letter on 23rd June 2013. Was dated 17th June by them.

Again no company number, no VAT number and VAT charged at 23%. wtf!

I won't even reply then. Why would they make such an obvious blunder?
I'm thinking to myself, how does this benefit them..... must be a reason I haven't yet thought of, like can't be counter sued!?

Beanpole

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2013, 08:25:20 AM »
An update to my first post, and a disappointing one. I've had a reply from Companies House saying that Getty Images Ltd are exempt from the requirements of the Companies Act because:

the entity that issues licenses to UK customers for use of their images is not Getty Images Limited, but a foreign subsidiary of the Getty Images Group.

I can't see why it matters which entity issues the licenses or cleans the toilets; my complaint was about the letters sent by a UK company from its registered address. But apparently it does matter, so... does anyone know which "foreign subsidiary" it is that issues licences to UK customers?

Couch_Potato

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Re: Is your Getty letter legal?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2013, 04:29:09 AM »
That would be Getty Images International registered in Ireland.

 

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