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Your copyright been infringed?

thewilliam 9 6.1k
9 Jan 2013 11:46AM
When somebody has stolen one of your images, try this:-


The folk at Getty are real professionals. When a business owner got a demand for unauthorised use of a Getty image, he was unwise enough not to pay. This defendant allowed the case to get to the High Court where the value of the average house doesn't buy much in the way of legal costs. It only takes one well publicized case to make people think twice before stealing Getty images or to pay up when they're caught.

Few small businesses have the resources to take a matter to the High Court but the professional associations do have the means and the winner does get his/her costs back. The High Court has one big advantage over the Small Claims Division: it has teeth and they're sharp! Bailiffs have ridiculously few powers and many a County Court CCJ turns out to be purely theoretical. The High Court does make sure that its judgements are upheld and its officers have the right of forced entry.

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GlennH 12 1.9k 1 France
9 Jan 2013 11:56AM

Quote:Bailiffs have ridiculously few powers and many a County Court CCJ turns out to be purely theoretical.

I don't doubt that, William, but isn't your scenario more applicable to a studio like yours pursuing individuals than it might be to individual photographers chasing up commercial misuse of their pictures?

Maybe I'm being naive—I have a propensity towards gullibility—but it seems to me that slippery CCJ cases are more likely to be insolvent individuals bouncing about than established companies. I thought that the Patents County Court small claims track was specifically intended for that bias, i.e. the little guy against uncaring companies.
9 Jan 2013 12:14PM
From what i have read about them, Getty may be one of the biggest stock agencies/picture libraries out there, but they are also regarded as bullies by many. I totally agree that image theft is wrong, and has to be controlled, but some Getty cases i have read about are pretty extreme.

Most have been cases where a Getty image was leased out to a particular user/company for use on their site. Someone has come along and uses the image on their own site, and linked back to, referenced and/or credited the image and site they took it from. Out of the blue, Getty are then threatening legal action and demanding large sums of compensation. In many cases that i have read, it has been alleged that they wouldnt accept a simple 'cease and desist' (where the user would remove the image from their site, and threats of legal action is dropped), and instead persisted with emails and letters demanding fines. Most of these cases have been either small business or home users - hardly big companies reaping benefits from the use of an image.

The only times i have ever dealt with Getty myself is when they have requested the use of my images (or inviting me to register with them). I have always refused as i prefer to have control over my images, and their registration is a total nightmare, but again they have come back time and time again after the same images
thewilliam 9 6.1k
9 Jan 2013 1:02PM
Sometimes I think our business culture has a lot in common with the Wild West where the rule of law is no more than a dream!

There are many companies, large and small, that have found that they take what they want and get away with it. In most cases, the "victim" doesn't have the resources to do anything about it.

In my business, I try very hard not to expose myself to the risk of not getting paid but many commercial clients do expect to be invoiced after the event and many believe they have a right to put off payment for several months. One member benefit of FSB is being able to credit-check a potential client. Few people or companies have just one CCJ: either they're clean or they have pages of them. When it issues a CCJ, the County Court is really saying "yes, Mr XX does indeed owe you ££££" but it does nothing to enforce the judgement other than by allowing the plaintiff to hire, and pay for, a bailiff.

One departed friend never used County Court but always used the threat of High Court because it worked and the loser would always say "Oh $&@#!" rather than "so what!". Legal costs would likely be in 6 figures and this is what frightens the wrong-doer.

Getty is just doing what the Wild West cattle baron would have done.
66tricky 11 742 Scotland
10 Jan 2013 4:54PM
A mate of mine was a main contributor to the FSB thread having received a bill from Getty/Corbis for circa £1200 for the use of a small shopping cart image that he had used on a client's website. Indeed, the image was provided by the client to him. When the notice arrived he removed the image from the website.

He steadfastly ignored the threat which really amounted to demanding money with menaces as the amount sought bore no relation to the actual loss. That was circa 2005/2006 and AFAICR never a penny was paid and the issue was dropped. Basically, GC were flying a kite in the knowledge that a proportion of people are timid enough to just cough up out of fear. They were steadfastly avoiding any court action for ages for fear of actually losing and setting legal precedent that would sink all their other demands. Even in the reported case in the link, Getty settled out of court. If they had a cast iron case then they would have continued, won damages and been awarded all costs.

Indeed, their own practices by which they established image use was legally questionable. They engaged an Israeli company to use their technology to take copies of websites and look for digital signature matches in the images. By doing so they were potentially breaching the copyright of millions of website owners...
thewilliam 9 6.1k
10 Jan 2013 5:37PM
One major difference between UK and US law:-

Our courts give an award intended to restore us to the position where we would have been if the defaulter had paid in the first place. Occasionally the plaintiff will get something for "vexation" but that seems uncommon. Legal "cost" are very different from the expenses we've incurred to win the case. As a winner, we may well be out of pocket.

The awards made by US courts seem to be punitive in the majority of cases and this seems fairer. It's good to get some recompense when the defaulter has caused us a lot of hassle. The Getty demands seem to be based on US law rather than UK. The case mentioned in the OP is the first in the UK High Court as far as I know and the judgement appears to be fair. If a defendant improperly uses a picture and then refuses to pay, why should he/she not be punished?

Image theft should be no different from shoplifting. In a supermarket or department store, the goods are laid out for the customer to examine but a reasonable person would expect to pay for the goods. Theft of intellectual property might not leave an empty space on the shelf but it still deprives people of income that is rightfully theirs.

66 tricky describes a situation where an image was stolen and the thief got away with it, which seems wrong. As a professional image-maker, I hope the High Court action sends a message that people can't steal the fruits of our labour with impunity.
66tricky 11 742 Scotland
11 Jan 2013 2:41PM

Quote:The case mentioned in the OP is the first in the UK High Court as far as I know and the judgement appears to be fair

Firstly, "the case" was way back in 2009. Secondly, IIUIC there was no judgement as the parties settled out of court so how can it be fair or unfair? The person who was attacked by Getty settled because they couldn't afford any further legal fees, not because they thought the demand for £1700 for a few months unauthorised use of a postage stamp sized image. The demand was way out of proportion to the "loss". I doubt the UK court would have awarded such a high sum had the defendant been financially able to defend the case in court. As such no case law was set, which suits Getty as if they thought they could win they would have had their day in court, set a legal precedent and sat back and waited for the cash to roll in....

Quote:66 tricky describes a situation where an image was stolen and the thief got away with it, which seems wrong. As a professional image-maker, I hope the High Court action sends a message that people can't steal the fruits of our labour with impunity.

No, I described a case where a small business inadvertently used a 30 pixel square clipart supplied in good faith by a client for the client's website some ten years ago. What followed was a demand for a sum way out of proportion for the licensing costs "lost" and relies on causing FUD in the recipient such that they may pay up rather than defend the case for fear of the legal costs. That's not justice.
66tricky 11 742 Scotland
11 Jan 2013 2:49PM
Just to put some perspective on the egregious demands sent out by Getty. A quick look at their website shows the going rate for a RF image of a shopping trolley (263 x 280 px) is £15-£20. For a smaller vector icon image the size that may be used on a web button or menu, the price is circa £120 for a set of 12 images or around £20 for a single, larger vector image. That's the level of losses that could be legally and morally claimed... And, you know what, if they sent out bills of that level, with a £20 charge for the autogenerated demand letter, they would have a huge inward cash flow as the recipients of the demands would think it was reasonable.
teabelly 7 45 England
13 Jan 2013 8:34PM
I tried this link before Christmas and I was really shocked!! what you do is go to a webpage showing your own images and then click the link, what it does is bring up any pictures that look to be the same or similar.


I found a Hockey team was using one of my seasonal pictures, a you tube user using them a profile pictures and a host of bloggers one of had even cropped my watermark.
779HOB 6 1.2k United Kingdom
13 Jan 2013 8:38PM
Running that src-img on my PF here says that the images don't appear anywhere else when in fact they do. Have I done something wrong or doesn't work?
teabelly 7 45 England
13 Jan 2013 8:53PM
Hi Focused,

I dragged the ??'s to my fav bookmarks first, then when I opened up my website I select a picture then click on it from my bookmarks and it then looks for pictures.
779HOB 6 1.2k United Kingdom
13 Jan 2013 9:01PM
Yep I dragged it to the bookmark bar - It comes up with images "similar" but not the actual sites where the photos are also uploaded.
teabelly 7 45 England
13 Jan 2013 9:19PM

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