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Author Topic: UK Query  (Read 8546 times)

horgio

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UK Query
« on: March 08, 2012, 04:45:54 PM »
Hi,

I have just been informed of the dreaded Getty letter in relation to an image I used on a website and am looking for some help/advice.

First a bit of background...

I am a member of the Round Table in the UK, which as most people know is a worldwide charity fund raising organisation arranged into small community-based clubs.  They recently launched a new website in the UK which allowed individual clubs to edit their own content.  I volunteered to act as our club 'webmaster' and in doing so inadvertantly grabbed an image from Google Images  to place next to one of our events.  It now turns out that this is a Getty image and they are demanding £850 for its use !  The image used was 200 x 200 px and I can buy a similar image on istockphotos for £12 so there appears to be no logic to the price determined by Getty for their very similar image.

I have removed the offending image and don't really know where to go from here...I have been reading lots of posts here but I guess the problem might be who is responsible.  The letter is addressed to our HQ and they have then forwarded it to our club.  Strangely enough at the end of the letter there under a section entitled Report Data: which contains a copy of the image and a screenshot of our site showing it in position but the homepage URL is not ours but a completely unrelated club !

I am obviously very concerned about this, and more than a little embarrassed, and was wondering if our status as a not-for-profit charitable organisation (although we are not a registered charity) might be my/our best defence.

I searched on google images for 'beer glasses' and the images appears linking to a completely different website.  How anyone is meant to know who the owner of an image is and whether copyright has been infringed is beyond me.  No excuse I know but you get the picture...no pun intended !

I look forward to any comments anyone has or even just a bit of moral support...

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 04:57:16 PM »
Getty won't care if your a charity, non-prodfit or doing good deeds, it's all about money to them. Not to shift blame although I guess with my next statement, thats what I'm doing, if the URL of the screenshot is not your URL, then they are barking up the wrong tree. so the first decision you have to make, is if you are going to take responsibility or are you going to point this out to them, thus shifting blame to another club? There are some good recent post regarding getty and the UK, worth reading if i were you...same general rules of thumb would apply. Contact getty and while not admitting guilt, state that the image was removed, and in order to address this you will need proof of ownership, and or registration, you will need  the method by which they arrive at their "claim amount" as you can get a very similar image from istock for a fraction of the price. ( Istock is owned by Getty as well)..
Also do some research on the image in question, is it available elsewhere, or has it ever been. does the photographer offer the image for sale??..

With all of the UK chatter lately it's hard for me to keep it all straight, but doesn't the UK have an "innocent infringement" clause..thus reducing the amount awarded if it went to court drastically?
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

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Khan

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 05:07:26 PM »
Do not forget to erase your history in the wayback archives if you go for barking the wrong tree !!!

horgio

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 05:40:49 PM »
The URL of the screenshot appears to be ours, although I'm looking at a scanned copy of the letter not the original.  It's the URL printed in the letter which refers to a different club.  Not sure if this is significant but is a bit odd.

Getty won't care if your a charity, non-prodfit or doing good deeds, it's all about money to them. Not to shift blame although I guess with my next statement, thats what I'm doing, if the URL of the screenshot is not your URL, then they are barking up the wrong tree. so the first decision you have to make, is if you are going to take responsibility or are you going to point this out to them, thus shifting blame to another club? There are some good recent post regarding getty and the UK, worth reading if i were you...same general rules of thumb would apply. Contact getty and while not admitting guilt, state that the image was removed, and in order to address this you will need proof of ownership, and or registration, you will need  the method by which they arrive at their "claim amount" as you can get a very similar image from istock for a fraction of the price. ( Istock is owned by Getty as well)..
Also do some research on the image in question, is it available elsewhere, or has it ever been. does the photographer offer the image for sale??..

With all of the UK chatter lately it's hard for me to keep it all straight, but doesn't the UK have an "innocent infringement" clause..thus reducing the amount awarded if it went to court drastically?

horgio

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 03:11:26 AM »
Another point.

The website is owned and operated by Round Table UK.  They effectively provide a platform that the clubs around the UK then use at a local level.  The Getty letter is addressed to the main organisation rather than our local club and wouldn't our organisation have something in place to avoid them getting into this situation when someone at a local level posts or publishes something either illegal and/or infringes copyright ?

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 10:28:41 AM »
You would think they would IF the UK has a provision such as our DMCA, I don't know if this exists..bottom line is if this does not exist or was not set-up properly, Getty will continue to hound the domain owner, who will in turn hound you or your club.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Nodge

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 01:28:24 PM »
Hi Horgio,
First thing I would say is that there are thousands of us who have received the letter so you are not alone. This includes many professional web designers so you shouldn't feel too guilty about things.
What have head office said to you? Have they passed the letter to you just for your info or have they asked you to sort it out? I think I would be inclined to just plead ignorance in this instance and pass it back to head office. They set up the software platform and asked for volunteers to add content so I think they have to accept the consequences. I bet they didn't give you any training or advice about copyright issues.

There is plenty of info on here about how to respond to the letter but if you're not the one who will be dealing with Getty it would be best if you advised the person who will be to pay a visit here.

ian wylde

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2012, 07:05:26 AM »
A bit of Uk law I've been sent, I cant confirm this is defianetly the law:


Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988:
"97.—(1) Where in an action for infringement of copyright it is shown that at the time of the infringement the defendant did not know, and had no reason to believe, that copyright subsisted in the work to which the action relates, the plaintiff is not entitled to damages against him, but without prejudice to any other remedy."
"It is an offence under Section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 and Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 to harass of debtors with a view to obtaining payment including the issue of letters which convey a threat or false information with intent to cause distress or anxiety."

« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 07:10:27 AM by ian wylde »

Jerry Witt (mcfilms)

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2012, 10:37:46 PM »
Wow. The laws in the UK really favor the people. All you'd have to do is provide a capture of a web page (or 12, or 20) that shows the image in use with no watermark and no copyright information. It seems to me if the image was prevalent and your adversary made no attempt to stop its propagation with cease and desist letters, you would have had "no reason to believe, that copyright subsisted in the work."

And then, you get to bring on the pain and turn the tables. What is the penalty when you prove the intent of the Getty letters is to "harass debtors with a view to obtaining payment including the issue of letters which convey a threat or false information with intent to cause distress or anxiety"?
Although I may be a super-genius, I am not a lawyer. So take my scribblings for what they are worth and get a real lawyer for real legal advice. But if you want media and design advice, please visit Motion City at http://motioncity.com.

SoylentGreen

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2012, 01:09:27 AM »
I can see why a UK "you win or it's free" legal service would be so lucrative.
Not mentioning any names... just sayin'...

S.G.


ian wylde

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2012, 05:24:56 AM »
From what Getty are doing, seems a perfect bit of law to me -- anxiety it indeed causes, amongst other things.  Im positive people are still paying Getty more than not in the Uk still..

SoylentGreen

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2012, 10:16:39 AM »
I think that how much people pay is inversely proportional to their IQ.

S.G.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2012, 10:39:59 AM »
I can see why a UK "you win or it's free" legal service would be so lucrative.
Not mentioning any names... just sayin'...

S.G.

I can see it as well, if in fact this snippet from the law applies, there would be very few "losses", which is also another reason Getty rarely files suit..they basically have no case. I hope someone can confirm this as factual UK law.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Couch_Potato

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2012, 11:47:16 AM »
I can see why a UK "you win or it's free" legal service would be so lucrative.
Not mentioning any names... just sayin'...

S.G.

I can see it as well, if in fact this snippet from the law applies, there would be very few "losses", which is also another reason Getty rarely files suit..they basically have no case. I hope someone can confirm this as factual UK law.

Those legal points in the UK have been debated on many a forum. The general consensus is that they would not apply to most copyright infringements because ignorance of the law is not a valid defence. So if an image was obtained from google or through a web design company, if you didn't specifically obtain confirmation of who held the copyright you are liable.
It would also be very difficult to prove the intent of the Getty letters is to cause harassment as they could argue they are simply enforcing their contractual obligation with the photographer to seek redress for copyright infringement.

Of course, in the unlikely event it did go to court you'd be able to fight on those grounds but you'd need very deep pockets. Something Getty is only too aware of.

SoylentGreen

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Re: UK Query
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2012, 01:57:33 PM »
I've heard about the UK forum thing before.  The legend of forum butthurt lives on.

The big sticking point is (again), "liable to whom"?
If Getty doesn't have solid contractual "ownership" of the image, I don't see how they can "win".
I'm sure it's the same in the UK as it is in the 'States.

Additionally, my personal opinion is that a lawsuit can be stressful.
But, I wouldn't just pay somebody because there might be a very remote chance of a lawsuit.
To me, the fight hasn't even begun unless a lawsuit is filed.  They (Getty) can't do anything otherwise.
If a lawsuit IS filed, you can settle before it goes to court if you simply can't "win".
Lawsuits are rare, and successful lawsuits are rarer still, so the odds of nothing ever happening is always in the alleged infringer's favor.
If the dispute is over many images, and a lot of money, I would say that the chances of a lawsuit are many times greater, however.
Just my personal view, though.

But, yeah, a lot of pussies pay out of fear...

S.G.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 03:49:05 PM by Matthew Chan »

 

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