Getty Images, Inc. is demanding money for usage of images without furnishing sufficient proof that this company has the right to make such demands.
Getty Images, Inc. ceased making demands and any other further interactions after the communication described here. Accordingly, this dormant case has been closed until there is a need to reopen it.
Getty Images, Inc. (“Getty Images”) demanded $1,750 for usage of 2 images for less than a year, and threatened with legal action, if the demands were not met. Getty Images was informed, that the images were obtained from other sources, and what these sources were. Despite of that, Getty Images continued to make monetary demands. At the same time, Getty Images failed to provide proof that their company has the right to make the monetary demands that Getty Images was making.
The demand made here is to STOP EXTORTION. Getty Images should not make monetary demands, accompanied by threats, for images, for which the company cannot provide verifiable proof that the images have been available exclusively through Getty Images, and who the authors of the images are.
My name is Thomas Eklund. From 2006 to 2011 I worked with contractors on several website development projects. Some of this work is also documented on http://www.elance.com/e/creativitymodel/. In 2006 I worked with a team of contractors who helped me to redesign my website, ProjectDeveloper.com. I also worked with the same team of contractors in 2009 on a custom blogging software development project. At the same time I asked that team to do Internet searches for me and to collect images for my next project. I worked on that creativity management related project as a hobby over several years. I also started a company, CreativityModel Enterprises, Inc., but after additional, more thorough market research decided to close it. In September of 2011 I transferred some of the creativity management related content to ProjectDeveloper.com and also created additional images for that purpose.
On 08/20/2012 I received a 10 page long letter from Getty Images. The letter contained demands for $1,750 for usage of 2 images, explanatory information, payment information and threats of legal action.
The same day I emailed Getty Images and informed them of how I obtained the images in question in 2009. I also informed Getty Images that in 2009 I had explicitly requested from the contractors, that all the images must be free of charge and such, that they can also be used for commercial purposes. At the time I also asked the contractors to send me information on the sources of the images, which were:
I had kept the relevant email’s content from 2009. On 08/20/2012 I sent this email’s content to Getty Images, together with the company name for which the contractors worked, who had conducted the Internet searches for images for me in 2009. I also sent to Getty Images these contractors names and email addresses. I copied that email to the contractors as well.
I also informed Getty Images that other than the photo of me, all the images on my website ProjectDeveloper.com are either original images that represent my database work, or original collages that I had created or were created based on my instructions. The two images that Getty Images was referring to, appear in collages that I made and put on the Internet in September of 2011.
On 08/22/2012 I received a response email from Nancy Monson, Copyright Compliance Specialist at Getty Images. Ms. Monson wrote in length about Getty Images, settlement terms, the demanded settlement amount of $1,750, and stated that the settlement must be accomplished on or before 08/30/2012.
I responded on 08/22/2012 and on 08/24/2012, and asked to send me by 09/07/2012 the following information:
On 08/24/2012 Ms. Monson responded, stating the following:
I replied the same day and listed again the above questions, but so far I have not received any complete response to them. Apparently unable to provide meaningful responses and realizing, that they have more to lose than they possibly could gain from trying to get money from me, Getty Images ceased communication with me and moved on to the next potential victim.
Getty Images and people who work for this predatory company seem to function like a “victim mill” that keeps producing misery. This is a business model that should be put out of business.
Getty Images has contracts with individuals and companies that submit photos to Getty Images (contributors). Getty Images in return leases the photos to customers and collects the fees. An image that is available through Getty Images may, or may not have copyright registration certificate as an ownership document. Further, apparently, an image that is available through Getty Images, may have been available through other sources as well.
Getty Images is making monetary demands, accompanied by threats. Thus, Getty Images must be able to provide proof that it actually has the right to make such demands.
I have not paid Getty Images anything, and under the circumstances I have no intention of paying them anything.
In their correspondence, Getty Images also requested that I must remove the two images in question from my website. Under the circumstances I have not done so, and I have no intention of doing so.
Both Getty Images and I know, that the probability that Getty Images will ever get any money from me is extremely small, even if they will take a legal action against me. If Getty Images wants to proceed with a legal action in this case, it is very likely, that their cost will exceed substantially any potential gains, and that they will lose the court case as well.
I informed Getty Images, that I will publish our correspondence on the Internet, and that my objective is to evaluate evidence that indicates that Getty Images may be engaging in extortion. I also I informed Getty Images that they can proceed with litigation against me any time they feel justified to do so. If that will ever happen, I will blog about that process on the Internet as well. I will hire a good lawyer, which will cost me, but in the battle against extortion, that is worth it.
As this Anti-Extortion Case 2 documents, Getty Images is aware, that their company has made monetary demands, accompanied by threats, without being able to prove that Getty Images actually has the right to make such demands. If Getty Images continues this practice, it provides proof that Getty Images is knowingly engaging in extortion.
If either Getty Images or any other entity has demanded money from you in a manner that is similar to what is described here, please become this website member and either describe your situation on this site, or contact me after becoming this website member.
Together we can accomplish more in the combat against the suspected extortionists.