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One of my customers received a letter from Getty Images Copyright Compliance that they were in violation of Getty's copyright.

I removed the image and put up one of my own.

If you want legal advice, see this.

Why do you want to use stock images anyway?

You have a phone, right. Take some photos. You will never be in violation of someone's copyright. How easy is that.

I dislike stock photos. They look like fake. Everyone knows they are not images of your business. I want to see authentic photos of the person's business.

My customer asked how can they tell if an image is in violation of someone's copyright. All images are in violation of someone's copyright. That person may not know, may not care, may not have given notice, may have provided for your use of the image, may have placed that image in the public domain or the copyright may have expired.

Government images are often in the public domain. I think they should all be in the public domain, since the public owns the government. However, I have seen government institutions, such as state universities, put copyright notices on images.

Believe people can intentionally post images without copyright notices to allow you to use those images until notified otherwise. Therefore, if Getty is asking you for money, and you got the image from some place, such as Google or Bing, that did not provide a copyright notice, seems to me that Getty first needs to inform you that you are in violation of the copyright, before they can charge you.

I have read elsewhere that Getty's attempts to enforce their copyright was extortion and maybe the letters other's received were extorting. The letter my customer received was reasonable. Getty did not attempt to get money immediately from my customer. As Getty wrote, they wanted to introduce themselves to find an image solution that fit my customer needs. Getty does need to police their copyright violations, otherwise they may lose their ability to enforce their copyright.

Subject: Image License Validation - Reference #384931818
Date: 2/18/16 2:16:30 PM
From: Copyright.compliance@gettyimages.com

Via email and physical mail

Image License Validation - Reference 384931818

Dear Business Owner;

By way of introduction, Getty Images is a leading global provider of digital media; our imagery is used by major newspapers, magazines, and in advertising campaigns around the globe. We represent over 200,000 artists, the largest community of photographers and filmmakers in the world. They rely on us to protect their livelihood, allowing them to thrive and produce future creative works.

We have noticed Rights Managed (RM) imagery represented by Getty Images being displayed on your website, and, so far, we cannot locate an active license for this commercial use.

Catalog Image No.ba60646

License Type: RM

Our goal in contacting you is to identify an active license for this use and also to help you find an imagery solution that meets your needs going forward. Please be aware that removal of the imagery alone will not satisfy this issue; we also want to ensure photographers are compensated for the use of their work on your website.

Please contact us by phone at 1-800-972-4170 or send us an email at copyright copyrightcompliance@gettyimages.com to discuss a resolution to this matter.

We would like to resolve this time-sensitive issue as soon as possible and request that you respond within 12 business days from the date of this letter.

Rights managed imagery is the highest quality content representing the top 10% of our creative image collections. These premium images are used in major advertising campaigns, and their licenses reflect their high quality. Licenses for RM images are significantly more expensive than licenses for Royalty Free (RF). While RF licenses are based solely on size and are transferable RM licenses are based on many factors including use, size, and duration and are not transferrable. Please
contact me if you have any questions about RM vs. RF imagery or licensed imagery in question. I will be happy to explain these items while helping you find an imagery solution.

Getty Images also offers free, online use of millions of our images, via our embed codes, for noncommercial uses, but commercial uses which promote a business/organization or the sale of a product or service, require a paid license.
On behalf of Getty Images and photographers whose livelihoods depend on image licensing, we thank you for your time and look forward to assisting you in resolving this matter.

Sam Brown

Copyright Compliance

To learn more about Getty Images, please visit www.gettyimages.com/copyright

This letter is without prejudice to Getty Images’ rights and remedies, all of which are expressly reserved.
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