Though Getty Images rarely sues those who use their photographs without permission, it still qualifies as copyright infringement to use their stock photos found elsewhere on the internet. Previously, Getty was known for sending settlement demand letters to individuals and organizations using their photographs without any preemptive cease-and-desist letters. The letters would ask for incredibly large settlements under the threat of a full-on copyright infringement lawsuit. Ignored letters were followed by subsequent letters demanding even larger settlements.
Getty’s settlement demand letters have resulted in a new industry of consulting for businesses on the receiving end. However, Getty rarely followed up with actual lawsuits. As such, there was much discussion around the internet about how small businesses could safely ignore the letters. According to a lawyer with Extortion Letter Info, “[t]here’s a lot of discussion on a variety of websites that, ‘Hey, if you get these Getty letters, they generally don’t follow up with lawsuits.’”
However, Getty recently changed its approach and began suing those who ignore the letters. In January alone, Getty filed five lawsuits. According to a representative of Getty, the lawsuits function to “send the message that we will take legal action when someone uses our content and is not willing to pay a license fee.” Furthermore, the lawsuits will protect “the creative process of artists and photographers” who supplied the photographs.
If you notice that your copyrighted material is being used on the internet without your permission, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced business litigation lawyer. Attorney Robert G. Klein has been handling intellectual property disputes in the Los Angeles area since 1987.
“I take risks that pay off for my clients because I’m very thorough and always well-prepared,” Klein says. “I get the details.” He is personally involved in every case and brings his intimate knowledge of his clients to the courtroom. For more information, contact our firm today at (323) 653-3900.
[Did You Know: Getty just released an embed feature that allows users to freely use their images if they link back to the source.]
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