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.

Getty Images Settlement Demand – Unauthorized Use of Getty Images Photograph

So I came into my office today, and I had a large letter from Getty Images, addressed to “Legal Department” at my company. We’re a small company… we don’t have a legal department.

Apparently, Getty Images has been sending these letters out like crazy since 2006, luckily this is the first I’ve seen. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, because they’re asking for $2,000 for the use of 2 images that were found on our company website. $2,000 for 2 images!!! Do we get exclusive rights for that fee? No. They then want us to purchase the images.

It is copyright infringement if the images weren’t, I have no problem admitting that. However, $1,000 each? Isn’t that robbery? Would it be worth hiring a lawyer to get out of some cost on this settlement demand? Or would it be a waste of money? Where do they come up with this absurd amount for the settlement demand?

Has anyone encountered this issue with Getty Images and got out of it for less than the requested amount? If so, I’d love to hear your suggestions/opinions.