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Getty Images copyright infringement

(11 Posts)
llareggub Tue 16-Jun-09 23:09:21

I wonder if anyone can throw in some thoughts on this?

DH runs a small business and has a website with some images on it. He has a small thumbnail image on his site which he obtained from an image gallery. He says it was free and the image was advertised as being royalty-free.

Today he has had a legal letter from Getty Images, who claim that the image is theirs. They want the image taken off immediately and payment of £800 by 2 July. DH had no idea that the image belonged to Getty Images. How could he? He didn't get it from Getty Images!

This just feels like a scam, although the letter appears to be genuine and a quick google reveals that we are not alone in getting these letters. How can Getty prove that they had the image before the one DH used? Could they even win a case against us? DH had no intent to defraud them or steal the image because he had no idea it was theirs.

It's pants. Any thoughts? I really don't want to pay up. It just doesn't feel reasonable to me. Grrr.

Piffle Tue 16-Jun-09 23:12:07

Playing safe -what your DH needs to do is to remove it
Write and say who you got it from, to absolve yourselves as much as possible and offer full details of who is displaying it as royalty free

Do not pay, it could well also be a scam

OTH you could just wait and see...

llareggub Tue 16-Jun-09 23:48:13

Thanks Piffle. DH is going to get his web chap to remove it tomorrow. I've been browsing the Federation of Small Businesses website and it appears that Getty Images are pursuing lots of people for similar infringements. Scary stuff.

It all appears to be above board, albeit a bit whiffy. We aren't going to pay though, and I'm going to draft a letter I think arguing against it.

Has anyone else had one of these letters?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Tue 16-Jun-09 23:50:30

It depends on what sort of image it was. If it's something that needed 'skill and expertise' to produce, something artistic, then it's covered by coryright. Best to remove it ASAP though.

lucykate Tue 16-Jun-09 23:56:35

i have heard of this happening to people who've used stock images on their websites. it may well be that getty bought the copyright of the image after your dh began using it. don't pay anything, just refer them back to where the image came from and remove it to be on the safe side.

MegBusset Wed 17-Jun-09 00:06:36

I wouldn't pay up in the first instance. Remove the image and gather evidence of where the image came from -- ie screenshots of the website he got it from, preferably with that specific image on. If he got it from a legitimate, well-known website (rather than some random site covered in porn adverts) then he will have a better argument for having used the image in good faith.

Ignorance is no defence in copyright law AFAIK but the question you have to ask is whether Getty would bother taking you to court for such a small amount, and whether a judge would consider it reasonable that you should have to pay for it.

llareggub Wed 17-Jun-09 09:11:12

Oh yes, it was from a legitimate site. What I don't understand is how they can prove they own the image, as he got it from somewhere else?

auntyitaly Fri 19-Jun-09 12:06:05

Well, DH probably got it from someone else who had, deliberately or not, pinched it by mistake.

Is the pic on the Getty website or in the Getty image library? Suggest you call them and, not giving your own details, tell them you need pix of whatever the offending pic represents. If they send you the pic, then you know.

auntyitaly Fri 19-Jun-09 12:07:07

Oh, and don't pay Getty anything.

auntyitaly Fri 19-Jun-09 12:07:07

Oh, and don't pay Getty anything.

auntyitaly Fri 19-Jun-09 12:07:13

Oh, and don't pay Getty anything.

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