• Report: #1075410
Complaint Review:

Getty Images

  • Submitted: Tue, August 13, 2013
  • Updated: Tue, August 13, 2013

  • Reported By: John Franczyk — Glenview Illinois
Getty Images
601 NOrth 34th Street Seattle, Washington USA

Getty Images Unsubstantiated Copyright Infringement Claim Seattle Washington

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I am an intellectual property attorney in Chicago.  In April 2012, one of my small business clients received a demand letter alleging that the business used a photograph owned by GettyImages on its website without a proper license from Getty.  The demand letter sought damages of almost $2,000.

I responded on behalf of the client, asking for verification that Getty Images owned the photograph.  I specifically asked for a copyright certificate or a copy of the copyright assignment from the photograoher to Getty.  Getty responded that the registration of the copyrights was left to the specific photographer and that the agreements they had with their photographers were confidential and could not be produced.   Thus, Getty sought damages from my client with no proof or verification that they owned anything that might justify the damages demand.   Getty did not respond to my final letetr in May 2012 and I assumed that it had dropped the matter.

In August 2013 I received a letter from Getty's outside counsel, McCormack Intellectual Property Law and Business Law P.S. The letter made veiled threats of litigation, generally referred to three high-profile copyright infringement cases that resulted in signfiicant dmaages against defendants, and suggested that my client refer the matter to its business insurance carrier because the damages might be covered under an "advertising injury" rider.   I sent McCormack a reply, generally summarizing my prior correspondence and observing that without a registered copyright, Getty had no opportunity to file a lawsuit in Federal Court nor any propsect of claiming statutory damages under the Copyright Act.   

The tone of McCormack's letter would be sufficient to scare anyone not familiar with the procedural thresholds for filing a copyright infringement case or requesting statutory damages or attorneys' fees. The letter's suggestion that my client refer the matter to its business insurance carriers is on the borderline.   Getty appears to be doing nothing more than scrubbing for whatever money it can find from small businesses that do not have the resources or ability to challenge Getty's exaggerated allegations.

I urge anyone who receives a demand letter from Getty to demand that Getty provide proof to back up its claims.  In most if not allcases, Getty wioll probably not be able to provide that proof.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/13/2013 09:21 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/getty-images/seattle-washington-98103/getty-images-unsubstantiated-copyright-infringement-claim-seattle-washington-1075410. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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