ExtortionLetterInfo Forums

Retired Forums => UK Getty Images Letter Forum => Topic started by: Getty Sucks on March 27, 2013, 06:11:31 PM

Title: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on March 27, 2013, 06:11:31 PM

These are the 2 images in question:



All images have been taken down from my blog.  One was used in a blog post the other as a featured image for the blog reel.  A small website, maybe 100 hits per month, all blog posts are for educational purposes only (not for profit).

A letter was received from Getty claiming £2500.  Apparently a first letter was sent a month prior - of which I did not receive.  This is my first contact with Getty.

I have tried reading through the info on here but it is copious.  Nothing seems to come out with a solid answer - especially in the UK forum.

I am also unsure as to what 'category' the use would come under to see what Getty would charge in the first place for usage.

Title: Re: Should I respond? My email draft
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on March 27, 2013, 08:32:50 PM
don't send that letter, read the forums, get educated first.....it's not a good idea to "plead guilty" in your letter...it is up to them to prove you are guilty..
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Couch_Potato on March 28, 2013, 11:57:33 AM
There is no solid answer because it's not possible to provide one for two main reasons:

1) This is a civil claim so each case will be unique to the circumstances of the individuals.
2) There is no case history of Getty actually taking people to court and winning for people found using images.

The best advice I can give you is to treat this as you would with anybody who walked up to you on the street and said you owe them money. At the very least you'd want proof of their claim.

Proof of claim for me would be:

1) A copy of the agreement whereby the photographer assigned copyright to Getty.
2) An affidavit from the photographer confirming the image was never offered free anywhere or sold through another site that wasn't owned by Getty. If it was then dates and the image cost (if applicable) should be provided.
3) A breakdown of how Getty arrived at the figure.

That is the minimum proof I personally would require before even entertaining a claim for money.

Given Getty's history the likely course of action would be you ask for proof. They refuse to provide it. You ignore them. They keep sending you letters. Eventually pass it to a "debt" collector, likely Atradius who will send you a letter. You keep ignoring it. Eventually they go away.

Of course, it could be possible that out of the hundreds of thousands of letters they send you are the one person they take to court but assuming you do send a response asking for proof of claim at least you would have attempted mediation which may be favourable to you.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: mariastev on April 12, 2013, 11:26:42 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

This is what I am trying to do with the Master File (MF).

Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on April 16, 2013, 01:23:28 PM
I received an email from Getty today in reply to my letter stating the advice in the post above. Would it be wise to post the reply on here?

Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi) on April 16, 2013, 03:51:03 PM
I received an email from Getty today in reply to my letter stating the advice in the post above. Would it be wise to post the reply on here?

email?? I would return it as spam, let them spend the postage to contact you...posting it is entirely up to you, but chances are good Getty will see it, they like to visit from time to time...
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on April 16, 2013, 06:08:38 PM
I have a good spam filter  :)

I sent them snail mail.  I will await their reply in snail mail.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Couch_Potato on April 17, 2013, 06:38:56 AM
We already know what their reply will say. They will refuse to provide proof of their claim at this stage citing various reasons before declaring you still owe them money.

They seem to think it's perfectly reasonable that the standard of proof a court would require is not the same as you or I may require.

The burden of proof is always on them and until they prove their claim don't entertain it.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on April 17, 2013, 12:03:02 PM
Very similar to this reply in the linked thread:

http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/uk-getty-images-letter-forum/e-mail-from-getty/ (http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/forum/uk-getty-images-letter-forum/e-mail-from-getty/)

They go onto offer a discount of x% by a certain date.

I shall await their response and proof in written mail.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on May 09, 2013, 04:02:41 PM
Still no reply in writing - just the email.  Will forget about it until I receive a written response.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on June 06, 2013, 12:11:54 PM

I recently received a 2nd email from Getty (that is now 1 postal and 2 email contacts).  This email has said that they have not received payment, and the matter will be passed onto the legal dept. should the amount not be received in the next 7 days.

I replied to them asking for proof of ownership as per another thread on here.  The reply to that email (I have now decided to put it up) is below - basically states they will only show ownership proof should the matter go to court.  This email was received ~2 months ago - the matter above was the follow up to the below.


Copyright exists upon the moment of creation. The mere existence of the imagery protects it under copyright law. Getty Images represents the photographer who owns the copyright in these images. Getty Images is bound by contract with its contributing photographers to obtain and share the royalties payable for the use of their images and to uphold and defend their copyright in their works. Rights Managed images, such as the ones at issue, are exclusive to Getty Images and available for license only through our website. Therefore, when copyright infringement occurs, Getty Images is entitled to legal redress.
Please find below the links to our watermarked copies of the imagery as evidence of our rights in the same.
Should you dispute our exclusive right to grant licenses for this image, please send us written documentation by the relevant photographers XXXX and XXXX containing their approval for the image to be used for commercial purposes.
Guarantees and any original documents such as photographer contracts or proof of copyright ownership are confidential and will only be made available in court by our lawyers, but not during an out-of-court settlement.
Unauthorised use is not priced in the same way as a previously arranged and correctly licensed image sale. The settlement amount accounts for the losses incurred as a result of the unauthorised use, including, but not limited to, lost licensing fees.  Getty Images has incurred additional losses as a result of pursuit of the unauthorised use, therefore list prices do not apply once an infringement has been identified. If we were to charge the regular licensing fees, we would be encouraging people to infringe. Therefore, Getty Images must, in cases of copyright infringement, pursue these matters in order to dissuade copyright infringement through these measures.
Although the removal of the image is appreciated, it has been visible through your commercial website.  Therefore, Getty Images and its represented photographers must still receive remuneration for the prior unauthorised use.
In order to settle the matter promptly and amicably, Getty Images is willing to offer you a 20% reduction on the original settlement demand and accept GBPXXXX gross (including 23% IRL VAT as per 01/01/2012) or GBPXXXX net in settlement if payment is received by XXXXX (date has well passed).  If you are VAT registered, please inform us of your VAT number before paying the settlement amount so the VAT can be deducted.
Getty Images makes this offer without prejudice and reserves all rights and remedies available under copyright law. Getty Images shall keep the terms of this settlement confidential, except as required by law.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on June 06, 2013, 12:16:25 PM
The above email reply was in response to me asking them for:

- a copy of agreement that shows owner has assigned copyright to Getty.
- showing that the image was never offered anywhere else for free or sold by another site, not owned by Getty.
- a breakdown of how they arrived at the EXTORTIONate cost.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: stinger on June 06, 2013, 03:17:55 PM
You are now in their process/system.  It is designed to erode your patience and separate you from your money in the name of protecting the interests of their photographer partners.  The statute of limitations is 3 years.  It is your choice to respond or ignore them because they haven't provided the proof you requested.

It is doubtful that they would have the means to pursue everyone they send a letter to in court.  They might lose money on each case.  Try to step back to gain objectivity on the matter, then decide how you should best proceed for you.  If there were a perfect formula, all the digital image trolls would be dead by now.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: DavidVGoliath on June 06, 2013, 06:31:52 PM
The statute of limitations is 3 years.

Not in the UK it's not; whilst there are time limits for certain civil actions, those limits are entirely dependent on which courts you appeal to. Example: if you wish to bring an action via the small claims court, you have six years in which to do so for most types of cases.

Getting to specifics of UK law: the best example is the case of Matthew Fisher, whom was the keyboard player responsible for the distinctive Hammond organ melody on Procol Harum's hit A Whiter Shade of Pale (based on Bach's "Air on the G string").

The song was recorded in 1967, but Fisher sued to attain several rights to the song in 2005. He initially won his case in 2006, but the result was appealed and partially reversed in 2007.

Fisher was given leave to appeal the reversal in 2008, and a unanimous verdict was rendered in 2009 at the House of Lords, which granted Fisher the co-authorship that he claimed and a resulting 40% royalties claim.

Most importantly from this case came the statement from the House of Lords that there were no time limits to copyright claims under English law. In this instance, an action had been brought after 38 years had passed (1967 - 2005) - a clear precedent if ever there was one.


So: anyone facing a copyright infringement claim in the UK would be wise to consider this fact when looking at their options.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Couch_Potato on June 07, 2013, 05:56:03 AM
DavidVGoliath is correct, there is no time limit on bringing a claim in the UK.

However entering the legal arena is expensive and unsure, particularly on civil claims. Getty would be at a massive disadvantage waiting months before bringing their claim because it would weaken their argument to be protecting copyright.

What he doesn't also factor is that from detection of infringement there is a lag of about 6 months before they contact the infringer upon which they try to charge you for that time, which again would weaken their stance to be protecting copyright and may even be borderline illegal as they are inflating their claim deliberately.

Courts will look at mediation attempts before deciding on award of costs which is why ignoring them is not recommended. If during mediation you ask for proof that they have the right to bring the claim and they refuse, they again weaken their case.

Let's get real here, Getty has been in the game long enough. If they cannot provide the contract between the photographer and themselves why not, at the time of a photographer registering, they ask them to sign a one page document confirming Getty has been assigned copyright and that Getty can provide this document as proof in the event of an infringement. That would negate any data protection argument about not providing the proof which Getty makes.
Of course the reason they won't do that is because then they couldn't scare you with the costs of litigation if they have to provide it.

There are so many holes in Getty's approach it is no surprise they don't bring many claims to court. Especially the blatant misrepresentations made in their name by Atradius and the other companies they use to try to collect on infringements.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: justme123 on June 10, 2013, 08:02:08 AM
My advice - don't respond at all simple as that. I had 3 letters over the course of about 3 months before Christmas & ignored them all. I haven't heard a thing from them since. Make sure you keep the letters for reference but ignore them. Once you respond & they sink their teeth into you they are much more likely to keep hounding you. Just my advice. They are like little children, ignore them & they find someone else to annoy.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Couch_Potato on June 10, 2013, 09:18:27 AM
Any advice is always appreciated but any response here has to factor in that:

a) Most first timers have no idea of their situation or rights. They've received a scary letter asking for a lot of money so what they need is information.
b) The person receiving the letter may not want to ignore it (some people just can't)
c) That they may actually have done something silly (like take the image from the Getty site)
d) No matter how small there is a chance that Getty may take action.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on June 14, 2013, 03:33:14 PM
Well I have received no reply in the post, only email and none of the evidence that I have asked for.

Thanks for all of the responses.
Title: Re: Should I respond?
Post by: Getty Sucks on July 11, 2013, 04:27:28 AM
Still no reply in the post.  And my email address they have been emailing me on is now deleted as I have a new domain.

So unless I get letters from them I will be none the wiser.