Attack of the Trollogs! Plus More Thoughts about Getty Extortion Letters

by Ryan M. Healy on October 15, 2012

Ever since publishing my post about Getty’s extortion letters, I’ve been inundated in comments. When I shut them off, there were 214 of them.

Basically, a blog reader shared my post in the Shutterstock forum, which prompted many disgruntled photographers to come here for The Airing of Grievances.

Multiple people emailed me privately to suggest I had a problem with trolls on my blog. Trolls are people who publish intentionally inflammatory comments in an attempt to divert attention away from the original article, or to overwhelm dissent.

Since photographers call themselves “photogs” for short, I figured “trollogs” was the perfect description.

My blog has been attacked by a horde of trollogs!

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s not too far from the truth.

Some photographers made good points, and did so in a tasteful manner. Others kept asking leading questions — and conveniently ignoring the central facts of my case — to try to make me look bad.

If you read through the comments, you’ll see what I mean, but wading through 200+ of them is tedious and not really that fun. So let me sum up the main arguments on both sides.

Those Who Disagree with Getty’s Extortion Letters Say…

  • It is important to protect intellectual property, but pursuing innocent infringers for thousands of dollars per violation is not fair or helpful.
  • First-time offenders who have accidentally infringed on the copyright of a single image ought to be warned, but should not be forced to pay onerous penalties.
  • If first-time offenders who have accidentally infringed on the copyright of a single image must pay a penalty, then that penalty should be fair and reasonable.
  • An image has almost zero cost to reproduce (some hosting and bandwidth), and therefore has a virtually unlimited market. One person’s accidental theft does not deprive any other customer from buying the same image.

The “Trollogs” Say…

  • Photographers need to be protected, and ignorance of the law isn’t a valid excuse in cases of copyright infringement.
  • It doesn’t matter whether the copyright infringement is accidental or intentional — all violators must be penalized. No mercy!
  • Penalties have to be high (in the thousands of dollars), otherwise people will continue to violate copyright and just pay if they get caught.
  • Use of an image without proper copyright reduces the image’s value and may prevent paying customers from licensing the image.

For the record, I agree with the first and fourth bullet points, but disagree strongly with the second and third bullet points.

While the trollogs continued to accuse me and others of stealing from them, Oscar Michelen of Extortion Letter Info summed up my thoughts well in a comment:

“Stealing” implies intent but the vast majority of my clients employed and paid third parties to set up their sites and were not web or copyright law savvy. They made a mistake – they were willing to pay a fair amount for that mistake.

Key phrase: “fair amount.”

So What Is a Reasonable Penalty for Copyright Infringement?

It seems to me, the biggest difference in opinion between ordinary people and trollogs is what constitutes a reasonable penalty for innocent infringement.

Some people say that’s for the courts to decide.

I personally say double restitution (2x original cost) is fair and reasonable. I base this upon biblical law, which requires double restitution in cases of ordinary theft.

Trollogs argue that double restitution is not enough. They seem to believe 15x to 30x the original licensing cost is fair.

If the original cost of the image was $75, then I think $150 is a fair and reasonable penalty. Trollogs disagree. They think you should pay somewhere between $1,125 and $2,250 for that same $75 image.

What is reasonable? What is fair? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

While you chew on that, it’s important to understand the two primary types of image licensing arrangements.

Royalty Free vs. Rights Managed

There are two classes of images available to license. Some images are “Royalty Free” and others are “Rights Managed.”

A royalty-free (RF) image is not actually free. But you pay for the image only one time and can then use it for as long as you like. You do not have to pay any ongoing royalties for the use of the image.

Rights-managed (RM) images are different. Your license fee only gives you the right to use the image in certain formats for a certain length of time.

I would personally never license a rights-managed image for use online. If you had dozens of images on your site, it would be far too complicated to track the expiration dates of all the licenses and keep them all current.

Given Getty’s business practices, using a rights-managed image online seems to be the equivalent of “asking for it.” In other words, you will probably be in violation of copyright at some point, and Getty will come after you even if you’re a good customer.

For online use, I recommend using only royalty-free images or images that you have taken or commissioned yourself.

Some Thoughts on the Price Elasticity of Images

Some images sell for $0.99. Others sell for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. And some unusually exceptional images may sell for $29,000 for exclusive lifetime rights (as noted by “Harry” in the comments of my original post).

Royalty-free images will always be cheaper since they are licensed to a large number of people. Rights-managed images are more expensive because they are usually higher quality and fewer people license them.

But what baffles me is the price variance on a license for a single rights-managed image. I played around with settings on Getty and found that an image license might cost me $100 or $2,000 depending on the options I choose.

Same image — vastly different prices.

And what if you accidentally choose the wrong options when licensing the image? Will Getty come after you for “damages?” It’s a legitimate question. I did not find their process for licensing rights-managed images clear at all.

Audit Your Sites Now – Before Getty Does

Just like Google uses a “spider” that crawls and indexes your websites, so Getty has a program called PicScout that scans images across the web looking for potential copyright violations.

If you do not audit your sites now, Getty (and other image resellers like Corbis and Masterfile) will.

And if they find even a single image that’s not been properly licensed, they will come after you for damages in the thousands of dollars.

In my case, a contractor reproduced a copyrighted image without a proper license on a domain I owned. Therefore, Getty came after me.

In other cases, people have purchased web templates and software packages — only to find out the product they purchased contained one or more images that were not licensed properly.

Guess who Getty comes after? The people who purchased the web templates and software packages — NOT the people who sold them.

In my opinion, these are all cases of innocent infringement. The people being held responsible thought they were in compliance with the law. Now they’re paying for other people’s mistakes.

Trollogs Think You’re the Enemy

I quickly realized most trollogs do not see you as a potential customer, but rather as an enemy. Just to give you an idea of how trollogs think, check out these comments that were said about me on the Shutterstock forum.

Semmick Photo said:

The dude is full of it. He has no clue what he is talking about and is trying to talk himself into the victim position. He needs to be dealt with just as much as the 90 year old friendly lady who stole Jeffs images.

I don’t know the details of the case he references at the end of his comment, but apparently he wants to stick it to a 90-year-old lady who improperly used some photos.

Elderly people accidentally violate laws all the time! It’s hard enough for people of an average age to stay current on Internet law — but to expect that from a 90-year-old woman is ridiculous.

What’s more ridiculous is this guy’s desire to slap her with a big penalty. Give me a break.

Dunneratt was even more colorful. He said:

He played us off as “those silly photogs”. His attitude is just as crass as any big corporation’s. Threat for threat. He’s playing the same game. Complete hypocrisy.

Its called “talking out your ass”.

Ryan’s not a thief. He’s a crawfishin’ hypocrite. The blog spells it all out. He could stand up like a man and do the right thing but he took the low road.

(Hey! I’ll have to add “crawfishin’ hypocrite” to the list of names I’ve been called!)

On a more serious note, let me ask you a question: Are these the type of photographers you want to do business with?

A List of Photo Resellers to Avoid

If you disagree with the use of settlement demand letters that ask for extortionate amounts of money from innocent infringers, then you can vote with your dollars and take your business elsewhere.

The following companies are known to issue tens of thousands of settlement demand letters every year, many of which are sent to innocent infringers:

  • Getty Images
  • iStockphoto (owned by Getty)
  • Masterfile
  • Corbis Images
  • Jupiter Images
  • Superstock

Regardless of the outcome of my particular case, I will no longer support these companies. I recommend you avoid them also.

It’s also important to be aware that SXC.hu was recently purchased by Getty.

SXC offers free images, but now that Getty has purchased the company, I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to retroactively enforce copyright on all the images SXC has offered for free.

Flickr may also become a source of trouble since images can be quickly and easily licensed to Getty from the Flickr interface. (Hat tip to Walt Goshert for sharing that.)

How to Get Photos for Your Websites

I will soon be upgrading my camera so I can build my own personal library of images that I can use when needed. It’s relatively easy to take your camera with you and snap photos of interesting things.

In fact, most of the images I’ve used on this particular blog have been snapped with my Fujifilm camera or my iPhone 3GS.

You could do the same thing. Take your own photos so you don’t have to worry about accidentally infringing on somebody else’s copyright.

Another option would be to commission a photographer in your area and pay him or her directly. My brother-in-law is really into photography, and I will probably hire him at some point.

Last but not least, you can still license royalty-free images from reputable companies. As far as I know, Fotolia is not using the heavy-handed tactics that Getty is. You may consider licensing images from them.

A Proper License Is Not Foolproof Protection

Caveat emptor: Just because you’ve properly licensed an image doesn’t mean you’ll never be harassed. Ellie shared her story on my original post:

I had a photo that I KNOW I paid for… but didn’t have the receipt. I never use anything that isn’t off a site that’s legit (istockphotos etc) ANYway…. I foolishly paid $1500 to Masterfile in Canada (reduced from their orginal charge of $2790) On top of that, I had proof that I had reduced the smallest photo available to even half that size… related to Dad’s Day… on the site. The dates from June 1 to Aug 18…. the site only had 212 visitors (from Google Analytics). So they were nice enough !!!! to drop the price – to $1500. I paid because I was the developer…. and maintained the site. But that was in 2010. Hopefully, I’m smarter than that now. What a racket indeed! :-(

Another person going by the handle “Kaboom” made this astute observation:

I’m fast coming to the conclusion that all images should be treated with suspicion and should be avoided.

Consider if one purchases a $10 image from one of these stock image houses. Also, let’s say that 10,000 others purchase the same image. Fast forward ten years and [...] the stock house investigates who has copyrights and who doesn’t.

Sure, there will be plenty of copyright infringers and they should pay up what’s fair.

But, let’s concentrate on the folks who DID purchase the image rights and have lost the receipt, bill, email or whatever proof they needed. Poof, they get one of these extortion letters and are dragged into paying up.

The trollogs say this will never happen, but Ellie’s story is proof that it HAS happened. And I’d bet money it will continue to happen — unless people vote with their dollars and walk away from companies like Getty Images.

The Trollogs Can Whine All They Want…

…but I will no longer do business with them, nor the agencies they contract with to demand thousands of dollars from innocent infringers.

Remember: I do not in any way advocate stealing photos or violating copyright. That’s why I’ve personally purchased licenses from iStockphoto for about 15 or 20 photos.

But Getty doesn’t care, and neither do the trollogs. They want to rake me over the coals and force me to cough up a thousand bucks for an honest mistake.

That’s why I’m writing about this issue.

You need to be extremely careful about the images you use — and you need to know about the potential consequences of improperly using an unlicensed image.

-Ryan M. Healy

P.S. If you’ve received an extortion letter from Getty or any other photo reseller, make sure you visit Extortion Letter Info.

About Ryan M. Healy

is a direct response copywriter. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.


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{ 57 comments }

Michael October 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

I have set up my finances so that I am pretty much judgement proof for situations as you describe with the Getty Images extortion letters. Although I wouldn’t intentionally violate copyrights, I wouldn’t give in to Getty’s extortion, either. If they sent me a letter telling me that my offer wasn’t good enough and that they would want me to pay thousands more, I’d send them a response along the lines of “take it or leave it.”

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Some people just send a check for their reduced settlement offer. Put a condition on the check that states, if it is cashed, then the case will be settled. Getty will sometimes cash the check.

Joseph Ratliff October 15, 2012 at 9:35 am

But here’s an observation…

What happens if I take my professional camera and equipment to take exactly the same photo and publish it online? I own that image… but it seems like someone like Getty will sue me anyhow?

And I’m sure it is possible for this to happen, I’m going to look for specific case studies… as this is interesting.

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 9:44 am

I’m not sure of the answer to your question — but here’s something I do know…

Some buildings are actually trademarked.

Fortunately, it seems you can still photograph even trademarked buildings without running afoul of the law. Details here:

http://www.photosecrets.com/photography-law-property-buildings-copyright-and-trademarks

Joseph Ratliff October 15, 2012 at 10:29 am

With the sheer amount of content online, there HAS to be two images, one owned by Getty (or company represented by them) and one owned by another photographer somewhere… does Getty get to sue them?

I mean, seriously, this situation seems a lot like the “patent troll” style of litigation to me.

I get that photographers should be paid for their work, whether you knowingly used the image or not… but the really sad thing is you offered to pay DOUBLE what you should have for the license, and it still wasn’t good enough.

It’s not like you demonstrated intent to steal the work… at least from my understanding (which means I’m NOT an attorney).

If you hadn’t responded with an offer to pay what you did for the license, I would have thought you were demonstrating intent to steal… and I don’t know the law behind that, but I also know you Ryan, and know you would NOT steal.

I think there might have to be a clear dollar amount or formula to figure out exact damages in these cases, so neither the accuser, nor the accused can stipulate a fair amount to pay.

Walt Goshert October 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

Ryan,

Thanks for the mention.

What’s sad about the Getty Blitzkrieg of Flickr is it really hurts the small photographer who is trying to spread his work and attract real paying clients. On all the Flickr photos I used, I messaged the photographer and asked for use on my site.

Everyone said yes. None wanted cash payment. They wanted payment in kind- a photo credit link back to their Flickr photo and stream.

Getty’s action has destroyed that marketing outlet for photographers to market on Flickr. It’s too risky to take the chance of Getty doing an after the fact, end run.

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 9:40 am

” It’s too risky to take the chance of Getty doing an after the fact, end run.”

Exactly.

Just imagine if you got a letter claiming copyright infringement on 5 or 10 different images. The settlement demand could run you $10,000 up to $30,000. (!!!)

You’d have to take out a five-year car loan to pay a settlement of that size.

John Thomas October 15, 2012 at 9:41 am

Ryan,

The whole hullabaloo with the photogs reminds me of what happened a few years ago in the music industry after napster hit.

When that hit, nearly everyone involved in the music industry, artists included, screamed “Prosecute! Penalize! Stick it to them hard so no one else will dare do it!” This in spite of the fact that people who want to be honest and legal (most folks) will pay or not listen if they are aware that is the legal choice, and folks who copy illegally will do that regardless of the penalty (because it’s pretty darn hard to nail down people who have done it). And the only people who made any money off of this enforcement was a few huge artists and the big record labels. The vast majority of musicians who record never saw any money from those prosecutions and never will. Heck, most musicians never make money from their recordings. The recordings market the live show and merch, which is where they make their money.

My suggestions for the photogs who want to cream everyone, including those who make honest mistakes: realize that you’ll probably never make much of anything off of your licensed images. Put the images up with your website on them so people who like your images and your style have the opportunity to hire you (at prices you can actually make money with) for their personal pictures, events, proprietary marketing materials, etc.

People should not steal the work of others, including from photogs, but the point of the copyright law is to protect the livelihood of those producing the images. And the fact is, the business model is flawed. Enforce copyrights or not, the average photog will starve unless they realize that their business model has to change for them to survive.

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm

“the average photog will starve unless they realize that their business model has to change for them to survive.”

Definitely agree with that statement. It seems like the current model is broken.

Spotify is a great example of a new model in the music industry that serves both customers and musicians. It seems something like that is needed in the stock photography world.

Stephen Dean October 15, 2012 at 10:22 am

Wow. After reading many comments on the last post and the SS post you linked to, who wants to work with photographers anymore? Rabid.

Makes me want to get more familiarized with the libertarian argument against intellectual property.

Thanks for the lesson, as always.

John Thomas October 15, 2012 at 11:01 am

Stephen,

The libertarian arguments have merit. Here’s a nice, relatively short article for you: http://mises.org/daily/3682 .

Of course, I recommend mises.org to anyone wanting to understand how the economy really works. (Of course, IMO.)

John

Harry October 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

Of course you don’t want to do business with any other photographers. Ryan has made it a point to distort, exaggerate, used broad brushes and overall attack the entire photographic and stock industry because he was caught using an image that was not rightfully licensed. How funny is that?

And for some reason Ryan (nor Kaboom on the other thread) does not want to tell the world just who they bought the images from.

Why not tell everybody if the source who you bought it from is selling images that have been stolen?

You guys should be going after THEM rather than attacking the stock photography world overall.

So Ryan, why not tell us who you purchased that illegal image from?

Stephen Dean October 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I said after reading “comments.” After reading comments from photographers, I’m not excited about buying their work anymore.

But, I think Ryan’s post is persuasive also.

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Harry – I already explained why I wouldn’t publish the name of the person I hired. See my comment on the other thread in response to Matt. (It’s a long comment.)

EDIT: Here’s a direct link:

http://www.ryanhealy.com/getty-images-extortion-letter/comment-page-1/#comment-19378

Harry October 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

Okay, so Ryan doesn’t want to post the name of his friend who took the copyrighted image used for his website because his friend’s family has health problems. Okay fine. But YOU are still the one ultimately responsible because it’s your website. If you prefer not to hold your friend responsible, then that’s your choice. But Getty has to pursue somebody. And asking you for $700 and offering to settle for $500 is not “extortion” for someone that took and used what was licensed to Getty. And that is that.

Kaboom on the other hand can still tell us who it is that sent him the letter. Ryan has told people reading that it was Getty that sent him a letter. And that he thinks all people should avoid Getty (among a specific list of many others) because they actually protect photographers’ rights and send out letters for more than it would cost to license the image up-front when they do catch someone.

But I fail to see any reasonable reason why Kaboom cannot tell readers who it was that sent him the letter. Who it is that’s guilty of “extortion”. Especially if, as he says, he wants to help warn the public. Yet, even with no names mentioned, he too, hops up on the soap box with Ryan complaining that it’s all a scam and extortion and wrong and unfair and they are victims.

Man, you can’t make this stuff up.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 10:53 am

At least get your figures right. Getty asked for $1,065 the first time, then came down to $580.

And stop harping on Kaboom. He clearly stated he won’t share the name until he’s sure who is responsible. At this point, he’s still investigating.

Kaboom October 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Harry there is a time and place to call out (expose) an organization or person.

Ryan has explained his position.

My case is different as I still don’t have proof of who had the original Copyright to license or not.

If it turns out that the software company has the copyright on the image – I’ll only be calling out the extortion letter company.

Making accusations without all the facts is …. unethical.

Semmick Photo October 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

Ryan, if you knew about the case of the lady who did steal images, you would understand why I said what I said. Infringement is a big problem for photographers and there is almost nothing we can do about it.

You keep comparing prices for editorial images with commercial images. Thats why I said you keep talking yourself into a victim position. The price of 500 dollars Getty demanded was a normal price for a commercial RM image for that length of time. You were not being extorted in my opinion.

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

What did the 90-year-old woman do?

If she was aware of copyright law and was intentionally using or distributing unlicensed images, then I would probably see it from your point of view.

Lazy Rockstar October 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

Ryan,

What kind of businessman are you!!!???

I think you should take a lesson from Getty ;-)

There were 4 or 5 comments on your original post that were, in my (layman’s) opinion, scurrilous, libelous, Rush Limbaugh-esque . . .

So, as said comments could put your whole business at risk, you must immediately send those criminals a demand for 15 times what you expect to earn over your lifetime.

$25,000,000 sounds fair enough to me (but as you’re not vindictive you could reduce it to $10,000,000).

Lazy

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Well, that’s one way to respond, hahaha. :-)

Harry October 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

I see you capped the other thread. Smart move Ryan. Copyright infringers’ arguments were getting TROUNCED over there. And anybody with eyes can see why.

And please tell your friend Oscar to try using something called ‘paragraphs’ next time he wants to post on your blog. Please let me know if I can reply to his post on that thread over here on this one.

AND… I can assure you that the people I saw commenting over there were not trolls. Nor am I. But I guess if it makes you feel better…

Regarding today’s post: I can agree with you that someone like you who’s got a blog or needing some pretty pics for aesthetics just to spruce up their small website does not need ‘Rights Managed’ stock photography. But what you seem to not realize is that there are tens of thousands of companies (Orbitz, American Express, Sate Farm Insurance, Exxon, NBC News… on and on I can go) that DO NEED quality images and are happy to pay more to find it in about 2 minutes time. The prices that you think are outrageous for you and your small budget are a great value to some of these corporations. Try looking at Tony Stone for example and you will often get a good look at some really high quality photography.

And so, if people want to just TAKE these same images to use however they wish then it can significantly lessen the value altogether. This is not hyperbole on my part. It’s really just common sense. But it needs to be stated since you are not a photographer and are discussing things you really don’t know enough about at this point.

Also, nobody that I saw on your blog stated what you summed up in points number 2 and 3:

For number 2 you wrote this: “It doesn’t matter whether the copyright infringement is accidental or intentional — all violators must be penalized to the fullest extent permissible by law.”

My reply:
So who exactly wrote that? “ALL VIOLATERS must be penalized to the fullest extent permissible by law??”

I sure never read that anywhere. You are now putting your own words in other people’s mouths.

Even if one person did write that somewhere, such was not the position by anybody that I saw on that thread and would be unfair of you to use such a broad brush to categorize our positions like that. This is a complete exaggeration on your part to try to paint photographers as some kind of greedy extortionists. And anyone who truly knows the facts can see what you are doing Ryan.

As for number three you wrote:
“Penalties have to be high (in the thousands of dollars), otherwise people will continue to violate copyright and just pay if they get caught.”

My Reply:
You (CONVENIENTLY) forgot to add that ATTORNEYS have to be involved for almost any chance of recovery for the photographer.

That is the main reason why paying ‘after you get caught’ is higher than if you came in through the front door to begin with. Do you not get that? So why not mention it in your summary?

But paying more also does serve notice to others that it’s a bad idea to take the work of other people to sell your own services without compensation to the originator of the content. It does also send a message that can be more effective.

So Ryan, why not tell anybody reading why you would exaggerate point # 2 and omit my argument on point # 3?

YOU are trying to manipulate the facts and distort the truth in order to get sympathetic support.

And then real life photographers, like myself, who know how it really is, have to come along and clean up this distorted mess that you are trying to make just to cover up for your own mistake.

Because you have been caught and targeted for recovery, you now are trying to paint the entire industry as unethical, money hungry extortionists.

Now how right is that? Interesting that you even quote the bible in your determination on what is fair compensation. Mentioning the bible does not make your unfair distortion here any more fair or less distorted Ryan.

I would rather you not take my photos to begin with. It lessens the value of them and then lawyers get involved for any hope of recovery, and it’s not an enjoyable process altogether.

The simple truth of the matter is that when infringers get caught using other people’s work, for their own commercial purposes, they bring upon themselves whatever consequences that then result.

The law is absolutely on the side of the photographer. Period. And no distorting of the facts or exaggerating of the issues on your part will change that.

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Harry – You mentioned there are big corporations willing to pay large fees for photos. I get that. And I even buy into the argument that the image goes down in value if it is reproduced all over the Internet. No argument there.

I wrote Trollog’s point #2 based not on anything specific that was said, but the spirit behind what was said.

Nobody said, “Well, it’s innocent infringement, so we should let them off the hook.”

Nobody suggested that I should not have to pay a penalty. Therefore, ALL photographers think that ALL violators should be penalized — regardless of whether the case is one of innocent infringement.

I used the phrase “to the fullest extent permissible by law” because that is the spirit behind what the photographers are saying.

Yet I realize my phrasing may be a mischaracterization of their viewpoint, so I have changed my article. I removed that particular phrase and replaced it with what I feel is a more accurate statement: “No mercy!”

It’s not too hard to see that not a single photographer here or in the Shutterstock forum suggested that I should be let off the hook. Not one suggested I should be allowed to pay a reduced settlement.

Therefore “ALL” followed by “no mercy!”

And I did not “conveniently forget” about attorneys. I deliberately omitted them — because they are not involved at this point.

There is no attorney cost until an attorney gets involved.

Getty uses an automated process that is free of attorneys for at least the first three points of contact. That is about a year’s worth of time.

So, no, the damages do not have to be inflated to cover attorney fees. If Getty asked for a more reasonable amount to start with, they’d get a much higher percentage of people to pay.

But let’s talk about distortion, Harry…

You said:

“I would rather you not take my photos to begin with.”

Did I take your photos, Harry? Nope. Not one.

Did I take a single photo of yours, Harry? No.

Did I personally take anybody’s photos? No!

I registered a domain and gave access to another party to build the site and create the content. That person then reproduced an image in a blog post without the proper copyright.

I owned the domain, but I did not steal the image.

So why are you trying to imply that I stole your pictures, Harry? Who is manipulating the truth?

Harry October 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Ryan Quote: “Harry – You mentioned there are big corporations willing to pay large fees for photos. I get that. And I even buy into the argument that the image goes down in value if it is reproduced all over the Internet. No argument there.”

My Reply: Then you can see why photographers have a hard time with people who rip them off, which happens all the time in today’s internet world.

Ryan Quote: “I wrote Trollog’s point #2 based not on anything specific that was said, but the spirit behind what was said.”

My Reply: But point # 2 stated to the fullest extent of the law which outright false. But thank you for changing it. While still not true (mercy is often shown based on actual circumstances) it is better than originally written.

Ryan Quote: “Nobody said, “Well, it’s innocent infringement, so we should let them off the hook.”

My Reply: And nobody said to the fullest extent possible, which is what you wrote and then changed up. And because of the fact that Getty did come down to $500 could very well be considered as “merciful” to many.

Ryan Quote: “Nobody suggested that I should not have to pay a penalty. Therefore, ALL photographers think that ALL violators should be penalized — regardless of whether the case is one of innocent infringement.”

My Reply: Nonsense. To be accurate you would write no photographer that was on my blog (only a few were there) suggested that I not be penalized. Because the FACT is that many photographers, especially non-professionals, would be happy with just a name or link acknowledgement. So you are obviously exaggerating with exactly how you wrote it.

Ryan Quote: “I used the phrase “to the fullest extent permissible by law” because that is the spirit behind what the photographers are saying.”

My Reply: Nonsense. Nobody suggests that you be charged $30,000 for unknowingly using another’s image or $150,000 for knowingly using it.

Ryan Quote: “Yet I realize my phrasing may be a mischaracterization of their viewpoint, so I have changed my article. I removed that particular phrase and replaced it with what I feel is a more accurate statement: “No mercy!”

My Reply: Like I said above, it’s better than, “to the fullest extent permissible by law”, but still not accurate Ryan. The reason why that spirit by some may seem harsh towards you is not because you necessarily were using another’s photo for your site (especially if you really did not know) but because you are using your blog to try to trash much of the stock photo world and photographers who go after copyright infringement. THAT is why you are getting beat up here and on your previous blog.

Ryan Quote: “It’s not too hard to see that not a single photographer here or in the Shutterstock forum suggested that I should be let off the hook. Not one suggested I should be allowed to pay a reduced settlement.”

My Reply: That would be because you were trashing the whole stock world Ryan. Just go back and read your own posts. In fact you still state that all people should stay away from Getty and others (and you list them by name). Use some common sense here. No photographer wants to show you kindness when you are trashing the very industry that provides their livelihood.

Ryan Quote: “Therefore “ALL” followed by “no mercy!”

My Reply: Okay, if it makes you feel better. Though still inaccurate as mentioned for the third time now.

Ryan Quote: “And I did not “conveniently forget” about attorneys. I deliberately omitted them — because they are not involved at this point.”

My Reply: And your demands by Getty are much lower because of that. When I have to go after an infringer, the attorneys make it a few thousand dollars rather than just $700 that Getty asked of you. But that is what people usually complain about. Most people complain about the higher amounts that attorneys ask for. But because attorneys are often involved those higher amounts are a necessary part of the equation. If you received an attorney letter with direct deadline about their filing a lawsuit, you probably would have jumped at that $500 offer. But because no attorneys are yet involved, you are just not interested in dealing with them. Which is why I have to use attorneys.

Ryan Quote: “There is no attorney cost until an attorney gets involved.”

My Reply: And for many photographers, that happens at the first letter.

Ryan Quote: “Getty uses an automated process that is free of attorneys for at least the first three points of contact. That is about a year’s worth of time.”

My Reply: Which is why your first letter only asked for $700. Be thankful.

Ryan Quote: “So, no, the damages do not have to be inflated to cover attorney fees. If Getty asked for a more reasonable amount to start with, they’d get a much higher percentage of people to pay.”

My Reply: Maybe a little true. BUT, people would then be MUCH MORE LIKELY to take their chances Ryan. A roll of the dice and losing is much easier if you lose just a little. So by making them lose so it hurts some you will definitely discourage repeat offenders.

Ryan Quote: “But let’s talk about distortion, Harry…”

My Reply: Okay, let’s do just that!

Ryan Quote: You said: “I would rather you not take my photos to begin with.”

My Reply: That is exactly what I meant. I said it how I meant it Ryan. I would rather you not take my photos. I did not state or even imply that you DID take my photos. We all know that you did not take my photo. Saying that would be a lie on my part. But stating, instead, that I would rather you not take my photo to begin with AND THEN writing: “It lessens the value of them and then lawyers get involved for any hope of recovery, and it’s not an enjoyable process altogether.” shows you why I would not want you (or anybody) taking my photos.

I mean Ryan, come on man. We all know Ryan did not take Harry’s photo. Is that better? Because anyone that’s followed this and the past thread knows full well that I have never claimed such a thing. For you, Ryan, to now twist my words to somehow assert I am accusing you of taking my photo is ridiculous. And you know it.

Quote from Ryan: “Did I take your photos, Harry? Nope. Not one.
Did I take a single photo of yours, Harry? No.
Did I personally take anybody’s photos? No!”

My Reply: This is a joke, right Ryan?

TO WHOEVER IS READING THIS BLOG, RYAN HAS NOT STOLEN MY PHOTO. HE STOLE SOMEONE ELSE’S PHOTO BUT NOT MINE. :)

Ryan Quote: “I registered a domain and gave access to another party to build the site and create the content. That person then reproduced an image in a blog post without the proper copyright. I owned the domain, but I did not steal the image.”

MY REPLY: Ryan, the buck stops with the website owner. And guess who that is Ryan? You still have not told anybody who it was that gave you the unauthorized image. And I will soon enough go find your explanation on the other thread and come back here to reply.

But there is NO GOOD REASON to not go after whatever person sent you the bad image. Instead you go after the company that has been assigned to protect the photographer’s rights and tell the whole world from your little blog that this company is into extortion and ripping the world off.

What a load on nonsense Ryan.

Ryan Quote: “So why are you trying to imply that I stole your pictures, Harry? Who is manipulating the truth?”

My Reply: Man, when Ryan has to twist what I wrote and focus on that alone (again and again), it shows he is getting TROUNCED in the arguments themselves.

Ryan, the law is not on your side. The buck stops with you (website owner) and you broke the law.

And now Getty wants you to pay up. But instead you twist things like a bad politician and I had to show you them myself before you did what was right and sort of correct the distorted truth you had previously written.

You won’t even call out who or where you got the bum image and instead complain about the entire world of stock photography.

But instead twist my words to say something you know very well was not meant. Amazing stuff here.

But Ryan, I got news for you: Today alone Getty has probably sold more stock photography than you’ll make in your entire lifetime.

And more demand letters will go out and people will have to pony up for using the works of other hard working photographers for their own personal gain.

So you better get used to it.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 7:24 am

My “little” blog reaches a few thousand online business people who create products and websites and pay for stock photography.

Also, Harry, I would prefer if you not bully my kids to begin with.

[crickets]

Oh, wait, I’m not actually implying Harry has bullied my kids or any kids. So to clear this issue up, HARRY HAS NEVER BULLIED MY KIDS.

Harry – Can you see how your words implied that I had stolen pictures from you?

And can you see that many people will only read portions of comments and will not proceed in a chronological order from all 200+ comments in the previous thread before reading through the comments on this thread?

Anyway, I find your comments and responses exasperating.

Getty and other companies are issuing settlement demand letters for what I feel are extortionate amounts of money. Nothing you’ve written has changed how I feel.

I now recommend a boycott on Getty and other companies like them to avoid legal hassles.

If you think people should continue doing business with Getty because of their use of settlement demand letters, then you’re welcome to tell the world on your own blog.

P.S. Thanks for pointing out that Getty makes more money than me… ‘cuz I was wondering about that.

Harry October 16, 2012 at 11:07 am

Ryan Quote: “My “little” blog reaches a few thousand online business people who create products and websites and pay for stock photography.”

My Reply: And I bet they will all run for their lives from:

Getty Images
iStockphoto (owned by Getty)
Masterfile
Corbis Images
Jupiter Images
Superstock

I do appreciate the list though Ryan. Because now I know which agencies take protecting the photographers rights seriously. Thank you. :)

Ryan Quote: “Also, Harry, I would prefer if you not bully my kids to begin with. [crickets] Oh, wait, I’m not actually implying Harry has bullied my kids or any kids. So to clear this issue up, HARRY HAS NEVER BULLIED MY KIDS. Harry – Can you see how your words implied that I had stolen pictures from you? And can you see that many people will only read portions of comments and will not proceed in a chronological order from all 200+ comments in the previous thread before reading through the comments on this thread?”

My Reply: If you think it sounded like, TO A POTENTIAL BLOG READER, that I accused you of taking my pic then you would/could/should have made a simple clarification comment. But instead you replied directly to me, stating that YOU BELIEVED my comment was an accusation that you stole my image, which you are well aware that I have never stated or insinuated such a thing on either blog post.

In fact you rambled on about how I was distorting things because of how YOU took that statement as a dishonest attack against you. And now, here, (after I set the facts straight yesterday) you say it was because other READERS might have come to that conclusion.

Is this for real?

Ryan Quote: “Anyway, I find your comments and responses exasperating.”

My Reply: And that would be because I have trounced away so much of this nonsense Ryan. Your generalizations were dishonest. You resorted to distortions which is why you had to edit your initial post.

You came from that ELI site like a brainwashed convert, only hearing/believing their one side of things.

I’ve explained in detail why using attorneys raise prices. None of which was refuted or even challenged.

I’ve called you out on twisting and distorting things. And why adjusted some of your verbiage.

I’ve shown why photographers need agencies to actually protect their work. Which you’ve agreed with.

I’ve shown how many corporations do value top quality imagery for big dollars. And you agreed with that too.

I’ve take time from my own business/fam/life and refuted too many claims to even count here now. I’ve replied gone line by line to many replies posted in great detail. And more.

That is why you are exasperated.

There is an another side to the picture than what you are telling people Ryan.

Ryan Quote: “Getty and other companies are issuing settlement demand letters for what I feel are extortionate amounts of money. Nothing you’ve written has changed how I feel.”

My Reply: And 1000 people drank the red Koolaid with Jim Jones. And millions still think 9/11 was inside job. People rarely change sides. But some readers need to HEAR other side of the picture Ryan. And that is what people like myself, Don and others have done.

Ryan Quote: “I now recommend a boycott on Getty and other companies like them to avoid legal hassles.”

My Reply: I think we know that now. Like I said earlier, “Yes get the word out, Avoid Getty. They go after people who use copyright protected images without paying for them. Bad Getty. :)”

Ryan Quote: “If you think people should continue doing business with Getty because of their use of settlement demand letters, then you’re welcome to tell the world on your own blog.”

My Reply: I really don’t care if they use Getty or take their own pics. But you have painted a dishonest picture of the entire stock and photo biz world. Take people’s images and they will come after you. Sounds fair to me.

The true moral of the story and lesson to be learned is:

DO NOT CARELESSLY TAKE/BORROW/STEAL/USE PHOTOS THAT ARE NOT YOURS TO USE FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN OR EVEN PERSONAL USE!!!

Simple enough?

Ryan Quote: “P.S. Thanks for pointing out that Getty makes more money than me… ‘cuz I was wondering about that.”

My Reply: Interesting that you omitted what I actually wrote, which was that Getty makes more money IN ONE DAY (you left that part out) than you will make in a LIFETIME (you conveniently left that out as well, so I see).

Point is that Getty goes on doing what they do despite your unfair generalization of how greedy extortionists they all are.

And more demand letters (and settlements with lawyers at the helm) will keep happening as well as long as people continue to take what is rightfully not theirs to take.

And that is the message to pass on Ryan: Please be sure people do not roll the dice and take pics they see online for personal and commercial use.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

The idea that you have “trounced” me is only from your perspective. I’m fairly confident there are others who do not see it that way.

And I find your comments exasperating because you continue to rehash the same old arguments while ignoring what I’ve already said in previous places.

Walt Goshert October 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

Thanks for the Mises article John

Seems there’s plenty of room to evolve on thinking about IP.

“One can acquire and increase wealth either through homesteading, production and contractual exchange, or by expropriating and exploiting homesteaders, producers, or contractual exchangers. There are no other ways.”

John Thomas October 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm

You’re more than welcome, Walt.

stinger October 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Ryan, you are not kidding when you say:

“SXC offers free images, but now that Getty has purchased the company, I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to retroactively enforce copyright on all the images SXC has offered for free.”

The way to protect yourself against this is to keep evidence that you were offered the images for free. Keep copies of the web sites that were offering them.

Getty will remove old copies of web sites from places like archive.org to make it difficult for you to prove that you were given a valid license for free. Get and keep that proof now if you want to keep using the images. And if you decide to stop using the images, ask archive.org to remove the pages where you have used them because Getty seems to point picscout at archive.org to chase people, as well.

Respect copyrights, but do not respect copyright Trolls.

Alan October 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Thanks for the heads up. Both posts a big fat warning and I’ll be avoiding Getty and telling everyone I know to as well. Online and Off.

Ryan M. Healy October 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm

You’re welcome. And thanks for getting the word out! :-)

Harry October 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Yes get the word out, Avoid Getty. They go after people who use copyright protected images without paying for them.

Bad Getty.

:)

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 11:01 am

We finally agree on something!

Avoid Getty. Getty is bad.

Todd Moss October 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I have a site that automatically pulls videos from utube and puts them on my site. For example, if I have an article about “dog training” than it will pull videos about dog training and show them on my site.
Apparently, a couple of the videos that I pulled had photos inside the videos that Getty decided needed protection. Keep in mind that these are not photos that I posted on my site… these are videos being pulled from utube that are embedded on my site so they can be viewed. Technically the video never leaves utube.
They sent me an extortion letter demanding thousands of dollars for a picture embedded in a video, posted on utube by someone else. At first I thought it was so ridiculous that I was not even going to respond but I finally did respond to them… told them how ridiculous their extortion letter was, tried to explain that these were utube videos, but they are still sending me threatening letters. I think they are smoking something illegal that screws up their brain.

John Lenaghan October 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm

That’s the sort of story that makes me think Getty is intentionally going after this type of instance of misuse of their image. In other words, the “small fish” who probably can’t afford an expensive lawsuit and is likely to be intimidated by these letters.

I wonder if they’re going after Google in this particular case, and others like it since the video is hosted on their service? There are no doubt many, many videos on YouTube that use their images without proper licensing. I can’t find any mention of any legal actions against Google by Getty so unless it’s gone under the radar, it wouldn’t appear so.

There’s an interesting article on Fortune/CNN about the recent purchase of Getty by the Carlyle Group.

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/08/15/carlyle-getty/

Specifically, this section:

You mentioned more digital assets. How does Getty survive when anyone can just use Google to search for, and steal, digital images?

We’re wise enough to the fact that there is always going to be some piracy. But the company has a very sophisticated image recognition system that helps it find when images are being used without its authority. But unlike with music, Getty is not in the business of suing those who violate. It tries to work with them to become customers.

Getty may not be in the business of actually suing people, but they certainly don’t seem to be trying to work with them to become customers.

I have a question for the photographers who are in on this discussion…

If you’re not getting paid proportionately more by Getty when they settle for more than the original license would have been (which I’m told you’re not) would it not be better for you if they settled for a more reasonable amount, even as little as whatever the original license fee would have been?

You would still make the same money but it seems to me that you wouldn’t be as likely to lose future business from the people that Getty alienates with these sorts of settlement demands.

Yes, there would be less of a disincentive for willful thieves but a lot of the people whose misuse was unintentional would likely be a lot more careful going forward and pay to license their images.

For example, I’m sure Ryan is going to go over everything that has an image with a fine-toothed comb from this point forward. Whether he’s justified in not dealing with Getty and these other companies or not, the fact is he isn’t going to. Anyone who is selling the types of images Ryan is looking for through those sites has lost a potential buyer.

Sure, one buyer may not matter but a whole bunch might. And you never know if one of them could wind up working in a big company one day, one that pays the big bucks for Getty images. That grudge could wind up costing Getty and its photographers a lot more than a few $20 RF images through iStockphoto.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 7:50 am

Todd – Now that IS crazy. Good to know that even streaming a YouTube video could earn you Getty’s wrath.

If Getty keeps it up, they’ll change the entire Internet. They’ll effectively kill social media and other forms of online sharing.

I wonder (like John L.) if Getty is going after YouTube, Google, et al. Because if they’re going after you, then it seems YouTube and Google are even more culpable.

Don October 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I think I am going to throw you two each a bone and call for contemplation. If you need some time to let emotions subside and think about things, just go get in line at any Apple store.

Harry: There can be no faulting your adherence to the law, or your championing on behalf of your profession and livelihood. However, the real touchpoint you are seeing here is the “shock and awe” response that many will interpret as being applied to one and all: from the willful infringer who is a financially-capable-of-licensing cheapskate, to the elderly recipe blogger who doesn’t know better and has 3 visitors a month – all grandchildren. You make valid points, Harry, and while ignorance is certainly not an acceptable legal excuse, let’s not forego humanity, either. Unlike the aforementioned cheapskate that knowingly pilfers images, Ryan, too, was victimized. Perhaps some flexibility in assessing infringement demand amounts, based on specific circumstances, would be a more reasonable and p.r.-worthy approach.

Ryan: Longtime reader (and Salty Droid Blog minion) here. I first ran across that “Extortion Letter” site quite some time ago, and I must admit it did raise my ire at the time. Of course, it’s a more or less one sided view. On the other hand, Harry brings up some perfectly valid points. Let’s face it, the internet is like the Wild West when it comes to intellectual property. In that sense, when their work gets distributed without compensation – diluting it – then it is really like groceries being taken from them. That has to be unsettling.

Although there can be debate about the value of the infraction, there is no disagreement about the actual infraction – it happened. I suspect many instances go uncollected for various reasons, which eats their time and resources. Considering that, and the overhead to administer IP protection programs, I doubt the process ultimately results in a windfall for anybody. I also suspect there is not a more effective method than this for achieving copyright respect and compliance. After all, it does get people talking. What other practical avenues do they have? None, really.

Now, whoever did the work for you either knowingly misappropriated the image, or was inexcusably wreckless in acquiring and vetting it. THAT person is the one truly deserving of your scorn. I realize holding them responsible may be awkward if that person happens to have other business or social connections to you.

All that said – I do totally relate to your being upset about the experience. However, I think I would be inclined to pay the piper, and be more vigilant in the future. Don’t carry a chip. There really are two victims here: you, and a photographer – another creative soul, like yourself. Those aren’t just their photos out there – those are their mortgage payments, and they help pay for their kids’ braces, too. Let’s not overlook that reality.

Harry October 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Hi Don,

When I see an infringement, that is some old grandma, or teenager, using for personal pages (non-commercial), I NEVER send those cases to attorneys. Same with Facebook, myspace, personal blogs and the like. I will sometimes do a DMC takedown, but often will leave them alone.

If I find a large corporation or even a smaller business that looks established and legitimate, I’ll then look it over closely to see what the deal is. Where is the image used? How long? Should they know better? etc. If it’s clear cut copyright infringement, then it goes directly to my attorney.

However, sometimes grandma can slip through the cracks occasionally. If the site looks professionally done and the business is established then there really is no way to tell who the owner is and what their circumstances are.

But this is also why attorneys have flexibility. It’s why they can accept settlements. It’s why some cases can be and at times are dropped.

In Ryan’s case, I can’t see going after him (based on his description) because I don’t see the commercial aspect from what he’s told us. But since Getty does start off with ‘In-House’ collections for lower amounts I can see why they might want to collect something. Again, part of their formula is to discourage people using unauthorized images for any purposes. They simply must protect the rights to their contracted images since they represent the photographer directly.

I have no gripes with Ryan going after the content provider. I have no gripes with his being a little upset that Getty has come after him. But to just use that broad brush he has to paint the entire industry (stock agencies and photographers alike) as greedy extortionists when HE is the one truly responsible for image content that was unauthorized, does at least deserve a few reasonable replies.

Many thanks.

Semmick Photo October 16, 2012 at 6:03 am

Don, perfectly worded. At this point after reading all arguments, I agree with everything you said.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 7:44 am

Don – Thank you for the thoughtful comment.

My thoughts:

* Photographers should be compensated for the work they do.

* I’m not opposed to licensing images. I’ve done that in the past and I may do that again in the future.

* Based on what I’ve learned about Getty and similar companies, I no longer trust them. Trust is an important part of any business relationship.

* I will not do business with Getty because I don’t trust them.

Photographers keep saying I should do business with Getty because they’re the biggest and they offer indemnity to customers.

But I’ve read at least one story to the contrary where they came after a guy who was both a Getty customer and a Getty contributor — because he was out of the country and a RM image license expired while he was gone.

So… I don’t trust Getty.

And any stock image customer who does some digging is likely to come to the same conclusion.

This is not about “sticking it to the photographers.”

But in light of Getty’s practices, photographers will have to decide if they want to be a part of Getty or not. And if they do, then they will probably lose some customers.

Regardless of what the law says, customers will FEEL a certain way if they have a run-in with Getty. They will base their future decisions on how they FEEL Getty treated them.

Photographers can use all the intellectual arguments in the world and it won’t change how a person feels.

Walt Goshert October 16, 2012 at 7:12 am

Isn’t Getty’s first responsibility return on shareholder value for their private investment group interests,The Carlyle Group?

Just wondering if this could create a conflict in how they represent the interests of photographers and practices they might consider using in enforcing copyright protections…

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 10:55 am

It might create conflict… but it may be more clear cut if Getty were a publicly traded company. I don’t know. Google does quite a lot to damage shareholder value. Nobody seems to care.

Austin October 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

If somebody uses an image they genuinely believe to be free, then logic dictates they wouldn’t have paid for it because they wanted a free image, so all the talk of lost revenue is questionable. How much revenue do you lose from somebody using something they wouldn’t have purchased anyway? I think this point is even more pertinent with the Getty letter because they charge such high fees. Quite clearly a mom and pop website would never have purchased a rights managed image for $750 so Getty has not lost that revenue.

Bob October 16, 2012 at 9:04 am

Dear Austin

That is a bit like saying that little old ladies don’t cause serious car crashes.

I had a £5,700 picture deal cancelled when a little one man business destroyed the exclusivity on an image. I did manage to get £120 from his client but never did get damages for the havoc he had caused.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

Just thinking out loud – it seems there needs to be a way to make images inaccessible, especially for those pictures that photographers want to sell exclusives on.

Did the one-man business use your image with the watermark over top of it? Or did he manage to get a full-quality high-res photo without licensing it?

Austin October 16, 2012 at 9:47 am

Bob,

You really need to provide further details of how this person obtained the image in the first place.

Bob October 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

He painted a very realistic painting. The image was very distinctive with a very unusual but natural colour.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 10:57 am

I’m confused. So this one-man business painted a picture based on a picture you took?

Amit Amin October 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Good for you, ignoring the trollogs. I’m not sure I’d have been able to make such an impassioned response.

Interestingly enough, I’ve yet to see Getty make any humane defense of their practices (I took a quick peek at the forum you pointed us to).

The photographers have, and the website owners have… which suggests to me a misunderstanding between the two, but pure unethical behavior on the part of Getty. Well, congrats to them, they’ve been able to play off their two constituents – photographers and customers, when in fact they should be working together.

Joseph Ratliff October 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm

+1000 Amit. Excellent thought. :) You would think Getty might explain their position, or at least facilitate a conversation of their own based on the fact there is a whole website devoted to the opposite opinion.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Actually, there are at least two websites wholly devoted to exposing and fighting copyright trolls.

There is the already-mentioned:

http://extortionletterinfo.com

As well as:

http://fightcopyrighttrolls.com

This second site covers many of the actual legal cases that are happening right now.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Great observations, Amit. Thanks for commenting. :-)

Walt Goshert October 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Getty/The Carlyle Group couldn’t care less about the photogs and end users. Did the large investment banks, Goldman, JP Morgan, etc.care about individual brokers, mortgage holders, and end investors when they packaged and sold crap Mortgage Default Swaps to pension funds? They knew it was wrong, but they did it anyway for shareholder return.

TCG’s driving force is to provide shareholder return for their private investor group. The Carlyle Group used $3 billion of OPM to buy Getty. Please research The Carlyle Group. You’ll discover one of the most politically connected corporations operating in the U.S. today.These OP (investors who are some of the most politically connected and wealthiest in the U.S.) want their money, just like Pearl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyKTeAUOEc

Anyone who thinks for a minute that Getty/The Carlyle Group is alturistic in preserving the IP integrity of photogs is extremely naive.

Joseph Ratliff October 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Amen Walt…

Getty / TCG is most certainly in it for the money… period. Their profits, not the photogs.

Ryan M. Healy October 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm

All excellent points, Walt. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. I’d forgotten about that Will Ferrell sketch. Hilarious!

Walt Goshert October 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm

BTW… here’s great timing from Forbes.

Inside The Carlyle Group operation:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2012/10/03/david-rubenstein-and-the-carlyle-group-the-kings-of-capital/

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