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  1. Mark Fiddes
    December 24, 2010 @ 8:24 am

    Their actions are outrageous…

    The reason I have read this today is because a new client of mine who I am designing and building a website for to replace the existing site has just received the very same disgusting letter from Getty images.

    This particular client runs a home business web portal, and like most individuals are unaware of the laws, but to ask £1200 for a very small image that has only been on the site for a few weeks is disgusting. Cannot stand bully’s and Getty images are certainly that!

    I have run advertising and marketing agencies for over 15 years and had a few run ins with Getty’s in my time, where they have threatened to sue on a few occasions. On all occasions I have told them where to get off, and that is because they had no case whatsoever. One particularly disgusting episode was the following

    My agency produced some design for a Hospice’s fundraising leaflet. We purchased the front cover image front Getty’s at about £250 for single use. This was back in 2002. The following year we had to produce another leaflet for the same fundraising activity, and Getty’s database obviously picked up on this, and we got a call from one of their sales staff, did we want to purchase the image again. I said no we have shot our own for this years leaflet. The sales guy then started getting nasty saying that we cannot do this and under copywrite laws we cannot copy one of their images. I said we haven’t, we have shot a completely different image. He demanded that we send through the image to make sure. and In no uncertain terms I told him where to go. I am sorry to say in anger, I told him that I would re arrange certain parts of his anatonomy.

    But we never heard another word from them. The actions of this company are disgusting and they should be investigated for this.

    However, my advice to all website owners who need good images are to either subscribe to shutterstock, thinkstockphoto, istock or other cheap to use libraries. Istock is good because you pay as you go by purchasing credits, and the others a fairly small monthly subscriptions if you need to download images regularly. The unfortunate part of using these is most of them are owned by Getty images. They have the monopoly in the stock image library world and that is why they practice these bullying tactics.

    You are absolutely right, that they should firstly ask for you to remove the image, or pay a reasonable fee for it. This would then protect their reputation, educate the small website owner not to pursue unlicensed images from google, and of course Getty’s make a small sum to ad to the millions they earn each year. Whoever adopted their current policy within Getty’s needs their ass kicked. Bad PR and not good for business. They should be educating people, not crucifying them!

  2. Carole Galassi
    April 29, 2011 @ 12:27 am

    I am a web designer/developer and have known several people who have received this demand letter. I agree that Getty should at least issue a warning letter but from their perspective that would be alot of maintenance issuing thousands of warnings to the website owner. The problem here lies in my humble opinion, with the web professional who is designing the website. It is their duty to educate their clients on web image licenses and if they are not aware of it, they should not be designing websites.

    The bottom line is that everyone should be purchasing images and not plucking them off the internet through Google images or any other search engines image browser. By doing this, you don’t know if there is a copyright on the photo and thereby, risk a copyright infringement. Now, true people who utilize offshore companies to put together websites may be subject to the developers there who steal images and don’t have valid licenses for them. But think about it, you get what you pay for in this world and usually people who use offshore companies are looking for cheap websites and anyone who uses them from the United States should be cautious of their practices.

    Business owners should be prudent in their choices of whomever they hire to design a site. Yes, they may not be aware of any copyright image laws but they should also be making sure the person they hire can do the job and is well versed on good internet practices. Would you hire an attorney and not ask questions about their education, expertise or access their knowledge? No. It should be the same when hiring a web professional. I can’t stress this enough as I’ve had many a client come to my office after being burned and ripped off from so called web developers.

    Stock companies do have a TERMS OF USE on their comp images. It is there for people to read and if people take images off their site without reading that, you can’t blame the stock companies for not informing them. Perhaps Getty needs to take a more proactive roll in letting people know about copyrights on their images via a video or something. Taking images off the internet is a very common thing that almost everyone takes part in. I agree that someone needs to police this and let the public know that its NOT okay to take images off the internet.

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