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The Purpose of This Petition
The purpose of this petition is to collectsignatures & commentsregarding a highlyunethical business practice known as the Getty Images"Settlement Demand Letter", and to informand shape public opinion which will ultimatelybring about change.Getty Images must cease this unethical practice immediately before another innocent citizen is harmed.
This is an important cause, and would like to encourage you to add your signature and share this petition with others. Once enough signatures have been received in support, this petitionwill be submittedto the US Federal Authorities in Seattle, WA who oversee Getty Images corporate business practices and are in charge of US Consumer Protections.
About Getty Images
Getty Images, Incis the leading provider of digital media content worldwide, and owns the rights to the largest collection of photographic images in the world. The next time you see a television commercial, flip through a magazine, visit a website, or choose a greeting card, it is most likelythat the image that catches your eye wasprovidedby Getty Images. Getty Images is headed by British billionaire ChairmanMark Getty, heir to the Sir J. Paul Getty Oil fortune; andJonathan Klein, Co-Founder and CEO of Getty Images.
The Getty Images "Settlement Demand Letter"
The Getty Images "Settlement Demand Letter" is a deliberateattempt by Getty to intimidate & bullyletter recipients, demanding that they pay Getty extravagant settlement fees in exchange for Getty agreeing NOT to sue the recipient, who has allegedly infringed on a photo copyrightmaintained by Getty. In many cases,Getty's monetary settlement demand can exceed100 times the actual retail value of the photo in question.
For example, Getty'susual"monetary damages"demand is $1000.00 per photo that is on the recipient's website, even ifit onlyretailsfor$10.00 per photo. Given how many photosare on the average website, Getty's average copyright infringement claimscan quickly add upin thetens of thousands of dollars in monetary damages in some cases, causing severe stress and lasting emotional harm to its targeted victim.
Getty Images "Primary Targets"
Getty's primary targets appear to bewebmasters,individuals & small business website owners that purchased their website templates and photosfrom 3rd parties, or unknowingly downloadedimagesfrom photo sharing websites whichwere originallythought to be legitimate.In many cases, it appears that the letter recipient has no knowledge of Getty Images or the alleged photocopyrights in question.Most also do not have the financial resources to fight Getty inUS Federal Court, the legal venue where all copyright infringement casesare tried in the United States.
GettyImages Seeks "Punitive Damages" in All Cases
Even if a Gettyletter recipient iscompletely innocentof all charges and had no knowledge of the claims being levied againstthem, Getty stillasserts that they are fullyresponsible underUS Copyrightlaw and must pay Gettypunitive damages,the strongestform of legalfinancial punishment awarded by US Courts. However, little does the letterrecipient know that under US Law, punitive damagescanONLY be awardedin special cases where (1) the defendant has displayed actualintentto cause harm and (2) the defendant's conduct was egregiously insidious.
If this is the case, then why does Getty continue to demandthe maximum penalty allowed under US LawinGetty'svery firstcontact withthe letter recipient?At this stage, Getty has not even reviewed the recipient's response, gatheredthe facts of the case, or evenproven intentor harm as required under law.
The Getty Images "Extortion Letter Scheme"
As a result of Getty's unethical business practice,thousands ofinnocent citizens in the US and abroad have suffered unnecessary emotional & financial harm. This extortion letter scheme has beenpracticed at Getty Images for many years, and itis unknown as tohow many Gettyletter recipientshave actually paid this ransom note out of fear, and most likely have done so without any knowledgeoftheirlegal rightsor due process under the law.
It is also reported that Getty Images has never takena "Settlement Demand Letter" caseto trial in aUS Federal Court. The letter recipient either (1) negotiates a financial settlement with Getty (2)Getty sends the matter to collections or (3)Gettyceases to pursue thecase. But this does not mean that the case is permanently dropped forever, as Getty is known to return years later and start the same extortion process all over again,and involving thesame photo licenses.
What Happened to the "Cease & DesistLetter"?
The Getty Images "Settlement Demand Letter"has alwaysbeen implemented without firstnotifying the website owner beforehand of a possible photo copyright violation, usually through a traditional legalprocess known asthe Cease & Desist Letter,or "take down notice". For example, upon Getty's first knowledge that a copyright violation may have occurred, Getty should first send a written notice requesting that thewebsite ownereither (1) provide proofpurchase of the photo license in question(2) remove the photo from the website immediately, or else (3) face legal action& financial penalties.
Thisnoticeis averyeffective toolin achieving the primary goalof copyrightcompliance and no onegets harmed. However, Getty Images chooses toemploy the"Settlement Demand Letter" instead and play the heavy handed role of the accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury & collection agency; andwith total disregard to the rights of theaccusedor the actual facts of the case.
Is Getty ImagesReally "Protecting The Photographer's Copyright"?
Is Getty really protecting the photographer's copyright as they claim? Do Getty'sprofessional photographers actuallycondone and participate inthis legalized extortion practice?What isthe photographer'spercentage of the financial rewards collected by Getty in these cases?Or is the "Settlement Demand Letter" nothing more than a carefully crafted legal tool used by Getty and theirunethical copyright attorneys for no other purposethan legalized extortion?
Consumer Friendly "Copyright ProtectionAlternatives"
There are many viable copyright protectionand anti-pirating technologies availablewhich will allowGetty to fully protect their photographer's copyrights and prevent illegal downloading and sharing,while stillallowingGetty to remain a good corporate citizen; if copyright protection is trulytheirultimate goal.
Please Support This Important Cause
This petition demands that Getty Images immediately ceaseits highly unethical extortionpractice before another innocent US citizenis intentionally harmed, and announcethe implementation ofnewcopyright protection technologies & business practices that are consumer friendly, protect their photographers copyrights and benefit the general publicat large.
This isanimportant cause and we would like to encourage you to add your signature and share this petition with others. Once enough signatures have been received in support, this petitionwill be submittedto the US Federal Authorities in Seattle, WA who oversee Getty Images corporate business practices and are in charge of US Consumer Protections.
Please support this petition by (1)signing in the form provided below (2) supportingGetty Images competition and (3) sharing this petition with your family & friends. Our collective consumer purchasing power ishow we canmake a real andlasting difference and bring about change.
About This Petition
* This petition is created for the benefit of the general public.
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Your participation canhelp informand shape public opinion and ultimately bring about change. Thank you!
These guys should be ashamed of themselves and so should the Getty's
Extortionist at their best!!!
Getty Images Extortion Letter - Copyright Trolls
If you are reading this, you are just one of the thousands (if not millions) of individuals or owners of small businesses who have been receiving extortion letter for using an image off internet which a company called Getty Images claims is theirs. They are misusing (and misinterpreting) the copyright law to make large amounts of money (in millions of Dollars), by employing greedy attorneys and legally abusive collection tactics i.e. letters, phone calls, etc. A little search over internet will reveal thousands of other links which are complaining about such extortion practices of companies like Getty Images. It is surprising that neither the Government, nor Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken serious note of it to stop it. There is a pending legislation in the Congress against such copyright trolls and you are highly encouraged to speak to your local Congressman to pass it as soon as possible.
Getty Images is an American Company (part of a Carlyl Group based in Seattle, Washington) operated by Mark Getty and Jonathan Kleinand. It owns hundreds of websites and operates with different names online i.e. Allsport, Word View, Liaison Agency, Newsmakers, Online USA, Hulton Press Library, Picture Post, Hulton Deutsch, Hulton Getty, Keystone Collection, EyeWire, Energy Film Library, Archive Photos of New York, Image Bank, Hulton Archive, Archive Photos, Pictorial Parade, Frederick Lewis Stock Photos, image.net, MediaVast, WireImage, FilmMagic, Contour Photos, Master Delegates, Isifa Image Service, Laura Ronchi, Jupitermedia, Jupiterimages, stock.xchng, StockXpert, Redferns Music Picture Library, PhotoDisc, Tony Stone Images, Hellman & Friedman (H&F), Flickr or iStockphoto. They deliberately populate the internet with their images, enticing people to get them off their websites for FREE by using keywords i.e. Royalty Free Images, Free photos, License free photos, etc. And then they use a software tool to spider all over internet, searching for their images, taking screenshots and sending them over to their attorneys who in turn combine all of that as "EVIDENCE" to scare and hound naive individuals and small business owners.
The best rule of thumb is to IGNORE such a non-sense. If you will speak to an attorney, that's how they make money and they will want you to take it seriously. No court of law will punish you for doing an innocent mistake and removing/replacing the image immediately. If you are really that much interested in giving Getty Images some hard time via "out-of-court" settlement which they are desperately seeking (since they live off such activities), here are some of the questions that you'd want to ask Getty Images or their attorneys. In response they will either deny your request for further information (which is a clear proof they can't take you to the court) or will offer you a more negotiated settlement. In either case, you can simply issue a "CEASE AND DESIST" request from contacting you any further. If they don't stop hounding you, then you can start collecting all of the relevant evidence of their illegal practices and take them to the local civil court (using the legal aid help from local bars). Irrespective of what other attorneys tell you or whatever you hear from internet forums, IGNORING is the best, easiest and the most effective rule in addition to talking to your local Congressman about it. So, here are the questions you need to ask Getty Images whenever you decide to respond (provided you really have to get it out of your system);
1. How did you come to know about my website using your images specially things like;
a) The time and date you found out
b) The procedure you used to identify your images on my website
c) The legal authority you used to track and take a snapshot of my website without my prior permission.
2. The ownership of the images including but not limited to;
a) Name, Address and other contact information of the photographer who originally sold it to you or has some sort of contract with you (the copy of the contract). Chain of title of the image.
b) Your images hosting servers, data center and IP addresses host the servers where those images reside
c) What sort of image copyright is displayed on your images which identify it as your own?
d) The registration and certification of these images with US Government Patent or Trademark office or any other Government database
e) Sales data of the owners and purchasers of these images along with their IP Addresses and website addresses, owners and their contact information.
3. What is the average price of these images to host for an hour, a day, a month or indefinitely? And how did you calculate the price of $2,000 in my particular case? And since I never purchased any image from you or have any intention of ever doing so, how did you presume that I'd pay you ANY price or cost you will ask? If you have any fair market value of images statistics or comparison with other images providers, kindly present it along with your claim. Further, on what basis will you continue to raise the price next month or next year if I decide to not to give you a single dime?
4. And finally, instead of sending me a simple and a respectful "cease and desist" request, how come you sent such presumptive demand letters that it was all an intentional damage caused to you? If the images are hosted on anybody's website as FREE and you are unable to secure your own images via some sort of watermark or security measures, how come you fault the end users online who innocently downloaded online from websites who might be the actual culprits after whom you should pursue?
You will be surprised to know that there are many lawyers and a large number of legal assistants who are on the payroll of Getty Images, actively participating in the comments sections of Internet Forums or Discussion groups on the same topic. Unfortunately, there are those black sheep amongst the community of the attorneys who have started online help programs for such victims to make money off of these extortion letter by coming off as if helping the victims. Instead of helping them for free, they are charging them another $200 to $500 for merely writing a letter to the Getty Images. This is a clear war between the power of money Vs. the power of people. Let's show them who is the winner!
To avoid using any such copyright trolls' websites, here are sources for FREE images. Pls. check each image's license for a special word like "CC0" or Creative Commons 0 which pretty much means no rights reserved. On Google Images search , set ADVANCED SEARCH for FREE FOR COMMERCIAL USE. Other sites of free images include pixabay.com, freepixels.com (be careful of the sponsored images on top of the search results from shutterstock), imageafter.com (do not remove their copyright notice in the image which is too tiny for anyone to notice) and imagebase.net.
If you need any further (and FREE) assistance, please contact your Congressman, local legal aid or chamber of commerce representatives for further assistance. Unless you will register your complaint with a Government-authorized representative (as mentioned above), the copyright trolls such as Getty Images will continue to not only hound you but many thousands of others and living off their abuse of the copyright law.
And lastly, please don't let these trolls stop you from doing what you love doing i.e. innovating, creating and succeeding. Even though there are sick minds i.e. Getty Images, there is more good in this world than Evil. And always remember, the strength of evil lies into scaring you from a hoax.
Jadon Veldman2 weeks ago
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