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Author Topic: extortion letter- getty images? what to do- any help appreciated:)  (Read 6371 times)


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Today I received a phone call, and was silly enough to return the call. 

It was regarding an image on my website that I had gotten from google images a few years ago.  There was no watermark, no anything to mark it as someones photo. 

As the story goes I am a small business.  This photo was supposedly from and copyrighted.  The phone call was from a collection agency in Seattle called lcs services.  The woman was very rude, and said I was in copyright infringement.  They said I owed $680 dollars, but would take it down to $510 and I had to pay by January 30.  She had sent out letters to me in Virginia Beach.. (I live in Canada) and then sent me an email (I did not give her the email it was on my website) with a link to the picture and what it was.  I posted the email below.  I immediately removed the picture and removed it from the saved files of my site as well.  My question is.. What do I do?
Do I ignore the barrage of calls/emails to come?  The company is in the states, my webhosting company is in the states.  I live in Canada.  My business is in Canada. 
Do I write a letter as some people recommend?  The image is on but is also on many other websites/blogs.  and I certainly did not take it from there.

It appears that is related to Getty pictures. 

I have looked over the forums, and will continue to look more, but I thought I would ask and see if anyone could just offer any help.  It made me feel sick to my stomach, and obviously stressed out. 

Thank you in advance :)

Here is the letter they emailed me.

License Compliance Services on behalf of © StockFood.

605 Fifth Avenue South, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104
United States



It has come to the attention of StockFood that an image or images represented exclusively by StockFood are being used or have been used for online promotional use by your company and without permission. According to our records there is no valid license issued to your company for use of the image(s).
To view the image(s) in question together with the usage(s) found on your company’s website, you can click on this link: 

Using a StockFood image without a valid license is considered copyright infringement and in violation of the Copyright Act, Title 17, United States Code, entitling StockFood to seek legal remedies and compensation for infringing uses. It is our contractual obligation to make you aware of this infringement.

To resolve this matter, we need you to take the following action within 10 business days of the date of this letter: (1) identify an existing license for the use of the image(s) in question, or (2) remit a $680.00 settlement payment.

If you believe a valid license has been issued for the image(s) and use(s), please provide the license information by emailing and include the invoice number of the license purchase. If the image(s) was/were validly licensed on your behalf by a third party please provide us with the company name, contact person and phone number.
If you cannot provide proof that the image(s) has/have been properly licensed, you must cease the use of the image(s). In addition, the above mentioned settlement payment must be received within 10 days of the date of this letter. Ceasing use of the image(s) does not eliminate liability for payment of fees due.
If you do not respond within the time frame provided we will take the appropriate actions.

If you desire to continue the use of the image(s) you are welcome to email or call +1 855 387 8725 to discuss steps to obtaining a valid license.
If you believe you have received this letter in error, please contact us immediately by email at .

StockFood is committed to investigating license infractions not only to protect our interests but also to protect the interests, intellectual property and livelihoods of the contributors with whom we work. We enforce our licensing conditions rigorously and believe that prompt cooperation will benefit all concerned parties. This letter is without prejudice to StockFood’s rights and remedies, all of which are expressly reserved.


License Compliance Services on behalf of © StockFood.



Remittance Payment Options

Please remit payment using one of the following payment options:

You can remit payment online by clicking on the below URL:

Remit Check Payment To:

License Compliance Services
Picscout Inc.
605 Fifth Avenue South, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104
United States
Please include Reference Number 4JUD-ABI8 with check payment.

Alternatively, you may contact us at +1 855 387 8725 or Pay By Wire Transfer to:

Bank of America
Picscout Inc.
Bank Account number: 138110423135
Routing (ABA) Number: 125000024
Swift Code: BOFAUS3N
Address: PO Box 25118, Tampa, FL 33622-5118

 For US copyright law, please visit the United States Copyright Office website:


 Frequently Asked Questions


What is StockFood?

StockFood is the leading food specialist among image libraries.  We provide images, videos and feature text to publishers, advertisers and various food industries.  StockFood is a member of PACA (Picture Archive Council of America), CEPIC, (Coordination of European Press Agencies Press Stock Heritage), BAPLA (British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies) and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals).

Why is StockFood contacting me?

Your website was recognized by an internet service StockFood uses to identify all online uses of images we represent.  After notification by this service and upon review of our billing systems there is no record of a valid license for use of the image(s) identified online.

What if I didn’t know?

You may have employed a third party, former worker or intern to design and develop your company’s site.  However, the liability of any infringement ultimately falls on the company (the end user) who hired that party, employee or intern.  You may have been unaware this material was subject to license.  The Copyright Act treats infringements as “no fault,” meaning anyone who copies, displays or publicly distributes a photograph infringes the copyright whether they were aware that the use was infringing or not.

What if I simply remove the image?

While we appreciate the effort of removing the material in question from your site, we still require compensation.  Your company has benefited by using our imagery without permission from StockFood or its represented contributors.  As the unauthorized use has already occurred, payment for that benefit is necessary.

What if I need to speak further with somebody to discuss this matter?

Please either email us at or call +1 855 387 8725 .



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