Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Getty Images Settlement Letters in Spain too

Apparently, Getty Images is a company that sells stock photos. The same company you can accept on Flickr to represent your photo portfolio.

As such, it is believed Getty Images make they money by selling stock photos to their costumers, either end-users or designers that use them on their customer's projects.

As any other company dealing with intellectual property, they may have copyright infringement cases every now and then. But here is where the innovation comes: Instead of sending a cease and desist letter to those believed to be infringing upon any right owned by Getty Images, they will just send a "settlement demand letter". The whole purpose of that document is to (1) notify the alleged infringement, (2) to act as an invoice for the amount they claim it is worth the damages for the
previous use of the infringing images (3) to provide erroneous legal claims to confuse addressee (4) to rush recipient to pay without a second thought (5) to offer the licensing of the images to be used in the future.

A law firm contacted me a few days ago as they have received such a letter from Getty Images, London. As many other histories I've found on the Internet, this firm hired a web designer to create their website. That work was paid for and assumed to be correct and lawful. It seems Getty Images is sweeping the Internet with some software that collects images and checks whether they contain any of the images they license or not.

A 2.500 EUR invocice was attached to the letter as they claim the alleged "losses" where worth. My advice to that firm was to file that letter permanently in the trash bin and to remove the images from their website.

At no point in the letter were presented any proof of ownership of the "infringing" images to the recipient. For an asking price of 2.500 EUR I think they could do no less.

I won't be surprised if that were the work of a con artist. But as I have researched the topic a bit on-line I think it is actually Getty Images doing this to themselves, which I think it is unfortunate.

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