Boycott Getty Images!
The Purpose of This Petition
The purpose of this petition is to collect signatures & comments regarding a highly unethical business practice known as the Getty Images "Settlement Demand Letter" and to inform and shape public opinion which will ultimately bring about change. Getty Images must cease this unethical practice immediately.
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 petition will be submitted to the U.S. Federal authorities who oversee Getty Images corporate business practices and are in charge of Consumer Protections.
About Getty Images
Getty Images is 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 likely that the image that catches your eye was provided by Getty Images. Getty Images is headed by billionaire Chairman Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein, Co-Founder and CEO of Getty Images.
The Getty Images "Settlement Demand Letter"
The Getty Images "Settlement Demand Letter" is a deliberate attempt by Getty to intimidate letter recipients, demanding they pay Getty extravagant settlement fees in exchange for Getty agreeing NOT to sue the recipient, who has allegedly infringed on a "photo copyright" maintained by Getty. In many cases, Getty's monetary demand can exceed "100 times" the actual retail value of the photo in question.
For example, Getty's usual monetary demand is $1000+/- per photo allegedly displayed on a website without a copyright licence, even if the photo in question only retails for $1. Given how many photos are on an average website or blog, Getty's copyright infringement claims can quickly add up in to the "tens of thousands" of dollars in damages in many cases, causing severe financial stress and lasting emotional harm to its targeted victim.
Getty Images "Primary Targets"
Getty's primary targets appear to be ordinary citizens, webmasters & small to mid size business owners who acquired their website or blog originally through legitimate means with photos already included in their packages. And others through popular photo sharing sites where copyrighted images may have been stolen, and placed on these sites labeled as free for use.
In many innocent cases, the letter recipient has no knowledge of Getty Images or the photo copyrights in question. In the majority of cases the recipient's do not have the financial resources to hire legal counsel to fight Getty in US Federal Court, the legal venue where all copyright infringement cases are tried in the United States.
Getty Images Seeks "Punitive Damages" in All Cases
Even if a Getty letter recipient is completely innocent of all charges and had no knowledge of the claims being levied against them, Getty still asserts that they are fully responsible under US Copyright law and must pay Getty "punitive damages", the strongest form of legal financial punishment awarded by US Courts.
However, little does the letter recipient know that under US Law, punitive damages can ONLY be awarded in special cases where (1) the defendant has displayed actual intent to cause harm and (2) the defendant's conduct was egregiously insidious.
In all cases, Getty does not contact the recipient prior, review the recipient's response to the claim, gather any facts of the case, or prove intentional harm as required under the law to demand maximum punitive damages.
The Getty Images "Letter Scheme"
As a result of Getty's unethical practice, thousands of innocent citizens in the US and abroad have suffered unnecessary emotional & financial harm, as this scheme has been practiced at Getty Images for many years.
It is reported that Getty Images has never taken a "Settlement Demand Letter" case to trial in a US Federal Court. Because if it did and there was a ruling against Getty Images, then the letter scheme would have to cease and a legal precedent set. So Getty has a valuable incentive for not bringing any case to federal trial.
The letter recipient either (1) negotiates a financial settlement with Getty (2) Getty sends the matter to collections or (3) Getty ceases to pursue the case.
But this does not mean that the case is permanently dropped forever, as Getty is known to "return years later" and start the same process all over again, and involving the exact same photo licenses.
What Happened to the "Cease & Desist Letter"?
The Getty Images "Settlement Demand Letter" has always been implemented without first notifying the website owner beforehand of a possible photo copyright violation through a traditional legal process known as the 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 the website owner either (1) provide proof of purchase of the photo license in question (2) remove the photo from the website immediately, or else (3) face legal action & financial penalties.
This notice is a very effective tool in achieving the primary goal of copyright compliance and no one gets harmed. However, Getty Images chooses to employ the "Settlement Demand Letter" instead and play the heavy handed role of the accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury & collection agency; with total disregard to the rights of the accused or the actual facts of the case.
Is Getty Really Protecting The Photographer's Copyright & Compensating Them?
Is Getty really protecting the photographer's copyright as they claim? Do Getty's professional photographers actually condone and participate in this practice? What is the photographer's percentage of the financial gains collected by Getty in these cases?
Consumer Friendly "Copyright Protection Alternatives"
There are many viable copyright protection and anti-pirating technologies available which will allow Getty to fully protect their photographer's copyrights and prevent illegal downloading and sharing, while still allowing Getty to remain a good corporate citizen.
Please Support This Important Cause
This petition demands that Getty Images immediately cease its highly unethical practice and announce the implementation of new copyright protection technologies & business practices that are consumer friendly, protect their photographers copyrights and benefit the general public at large.
This is an important cause and we would like to encourage you to sign today. Once enough signatures have been received in support, this petition will be submitted to 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) supporting Getty Images competition and (3) sharing this petition with your family & friends. Our collective consumer purchasing power is how we can make a real and lasting difference and bring about change.
About This Petition
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Your participation can help inform and shape public opinion and ultimately bring about change. Thank you!
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