Re: Unauthorized Use of Getty Images’ Photograph – No Cease and Desist Letter?


Isn’t it a requirement to first send a Cease & Desist letter if someone is infringing on your copyrighted work or material? Getty Images seems to have just gone right past this step in sending out settlement demands to any company or person who has an image from the Getty Images library displayed on their website.

In my case, and I’m assuming that this is the case with many others, we hired a 3rd party designer to create our website. How on earth are we supposed to know if an image provided in that design is copyrighted? We certainly don’t have the time to scour through every image in the Getty Images library to compare our site.

How does Getty Images find their images on other sites anyway?
Getty uses a 3rd party service from an Israeli company called PicScout, Inc. PicScout searches for image matches by creating digital fingerprints of images in a catalog. It then sends webcrawlers out across the internet comparing images on websites against the Getty Images catalog. The PicScout engine will find images regardless of whether the name has been changed, the color has been altered, the image has been cropped, and probably more.

If you received a a letter from Getty Images – Re: Unauthorized Use of Getty Images’ Photograph what are your options?

  1. Pay the listed amount and let it be done?
  2. Ignore the letter?
  3. Hire an attorney and see what he/she can do to get you out of it?

Has anyone else dealt with this problem? Did anyone take actions via any of the 3 courses listed above? I’d like to make a post about each of the options so that people who have this same problem can use this as a reference to find out which option will best suit them.