I am not sure why I never caught some of the goodies in this news article over two years ago. But in looking up Lisa Willmer, Senior Director of Corporate Counsel at Getty Images (who also oversees and hires hourly interns and collection clerks), I found this 2009 Los Angeles Times Article.
Lisa Willmer also happens to be the person Oscar Michelen has interacted and communicated with at Getty Images.
Check this out:
Getty says it finds about 42,000 examples of copyright infringement a year. For its part, Corbis says it uncovers about 70,000 violations annually.
Those are some huge numbers! That Picscout scoutbot really works hard to find these alleged infringements.
I have always said that there were “thousands of letters” going out each year but never quite certain where the actual numbers might be. Oscar once speculated a while back that there could be 100,000 letters issued over the years. It turns out Oscar’s rough estimate was right.
Assuming Getty Images issues extortion letters to “only” 25% those alleged infringements, that is an easy 10,000 extortion letters per year (or 800 extortion letters/month)! If they issue extortion letters to 50% of those alleged infringements, that is 20,000 extortion letters per year (or 1,600 extortion letters/month)!
Remember, those were 2009 numbers. Those numbers might have increased in the last 3 years since that story was published. No wonder Getty Images salivates over the extortion letter program and invests so much resources into the program.