I am reporting what I understand is another case of extortion by Getty Images. I had a website developer construct my one-person consulting business website in 2008. She used a picture of people in an office that she found on the internet, but had no association with Getty Images. I never actively used the website and it brought me no monetary advantage; no one ever contacted me through the website and to my knowledge, no client ever viewed it. However, I received a letter from Getty Images demanding over $1200 for the use of one image. I spoke with someone at the phone number listed on the letter and explained the situation. They reduced the charge to $650. I asked them for proof that Getty owned the copyright to the image and that this was a valid representative of Getty. I also asked for evidence that the matter would be resolved if I paid the agreed amount. The only suggestion offered was for me to talk with the gentleman's supervisor on the phone. How am I supposed to trust this type of verification? So I did not pay. I now have the letter from McCormack Intellectual Property Law. I called them in the middle of the day and there is no one answering the phone. People answer the phone at law firms that I'm familiar with. I will ask for the same steps to verify their complaint. I don't know how this will end, but I have an attorney involved who will write them. It is tragic that Getty feels the need to harass small business owners who may end up using a Getty Image, but without any knowledge that the image was attributed to Getty. We cannot trust website information and certainly cannot trust those who elect to harass us by mail and phone, who are unwilling to validate their credentials and their right to payment.
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