|A few months ago, Getty Images sent one of the photographers a $120 settlement demand for using one of Getty Images’ pictures without permission. Although this is a routine procedure, things got really messy in this case. It turned out that the image in question was actually the photographer’s own work, displayed on her own website. The photographer didn’t like the claim at all and responded with a $1bn lawsuit.
Getty Images is a US agency that controls an archive of millions of stock images. You can pay it a fee and obtain the right to use those images in your own publications. To protect its copyright, Getty scans the Internet in search of instances where people have used its images without permission and pursues the infringers for money through a typical copyright troll operation. The alleged infringers receive a settlement demand from Getty agents warning that the company may decide to take the case to court.
Such demand was sent to the non-profit This is America! Foundation established by Carol Highsmith, a well-known American photographer. Getty Images demanded $120 to settle the dispute, which one may agree is not big money. The problem is that the case contained a series of devastating flaws: first of all, the photo in question was taken by Carol Highsmith herself. Moreover, Highsmith donated that and thousands of other images to the Library of Congress and made them available to the public to reproduce and display for free.
After the explanations to the law firm representing Getty Images, the photographer received confirmation that the case against her had been dropped. But it seems that Getty Images was not aware of this, and it also made available more than 18,000 of Highsmith’s other photos on its website. In response, Highsmith’s lawyers filed a lawsuit in a New York District Court, claiming that Getty doesn’t identify Carol Highsmith as the sole author of the Highsmith Photos or the copyright owner of the works. They pointed out that in some cases the company was demanding $575 for use of just one of Highsmith’s photos, despite her making the content freely available to the public. Moreover, Getty Images has been sending out settlement demands to people using her photos legally on their websites.
So, the tables are now turned, and Getty is a defender in the case where Highsmith claims that the company is liable for statutory damages of up to $469m for using her works without permission.
Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing the source of the article.
Saturday, July 30th, 2016
|Companies want to get paid for doing nothing|
|This lady is filing the lawsuit more for the principal, not the money. It's a shock value amount to really get Getty's attention. What they did was wrong. You can NOT put copyright claims on something the artist had already released to public domain. Getty Images was doing this with this photographer's pictures for years. Who knows how many other photographs people are paying to use when they don't really have to? If she does win a settlement, I have a feeling she's the kind of lady who would most likely donate it to schools or homeless. She already has successful businesses and doesn't need the money. Am pretty sure she just wants Getty Images to lose monies they have wrongfully collected. Fair case, IMO.|
|It a good thing especially for reason that it points out the abuse of the system by trolls. I hope she dont settle and accept the inevitable gag order that comes with it.|
|Hooray, I'm going to take a look through getty images find ones I like and remove the getty images notice with photoshop. I don't have any outlet for making money from them but will use them on my website that does not get visitors and my FB page that is the same. If I am lucky I will get a settlement demand and am in the not lucky but useful position of not being sueable. Not cause I'm Canadian but for other reasons|
Hooray for her
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