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Thread: My Getty Images shakedown Saga

  1. #1

    My Getty Images shakedown Saga

    Hi.

    Cliff notes to now as I have discussed this before.

    Made a business website and unknowingly put an image on my site that was property of Getty Images. They tried to shake me down for $1050 for copyright infringement by sending me 2 letters in the mail over a 2 month period. I ignored them and never answered. It has been over 6 months without a reply and today I got the email below. This is what they do have bots troll the net for these images and try to get people to send them HUGE sums of money for an image that would normally cost $20 per year to buy. Here is a link to a site that is just about these shakedowns from Getty with my thread. http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/f...n-and-my-plan/


    Our file no XXXXXX
    Re: Getty Images/Company Name
    Settlement Offer:$1050.00


    Please be advised that NCS has been retained by Getty Images with regard to the settlement of an image infringement claim in the above referenced matter. In that regard, we have been assigned this file, and have attached hereto copies of the letter previously sent by our client together with copies of the unauthorized images and the capture of said images on your website. Our client has attempted to resolve this claim by communicating with your company directly, but has been unable to do so. Our goal is to resolve this claim on an amicable basis, without having to resort to further action in this regard. We do have some flexibility with the amount claimed if this is resolved immediately. Alternatively, if we cannot settle this imminently, we would be obligated to refer the file back to our client for further action including the potential initiation of suit. It would be preferable to settle this matter upon terms agreeable to both parties, and to avoid the time and expense of potential protracted litigation. We trust that we can resolve this amicably, and we look forward to hearing from in this regard upon receipt of this email.

    Our client understands that a third-party designer, employee or intern may have been contracted to design and develop your company’s website. However, if no licenses for use of the images from our client exist, the liability of any infringement ultimately falls on the company displaying the imagery, which is considered the end user. If this situation applies to your company, please contact the third-party to inquire if there are any licenses from our client for the specific use of the images in question. If this is the case, please contact us as soon as possible to provide the invoice number or sales order number information and we will research accordingly. If a third party who supplied the images is willing to settle on your behalf, that third party may contact us to settle this matter. If the third party is unable or unwilling to settle on your behalf, we will continue to pursue your company as the end user of the image. Any pursuit by you of reimbursement from the third party would be between you and the third party, separate from our claim against you.

    While we appreciate the removal of the represented images from your website, removal of the images alone does not settle the matter. Since your company has already infringed the copyright by using the image without a valid license, the photographers are entitled to compensation for the use of their work. Therefore, our client will continue to pursue settlement of the demand. We are seeking payment for the unlicensed use of the images.

    This is an effort to effect a settlement and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.


    Sincerely,


    Darlene Connor
    Recovery Specialist
    NCS IP Solutions LLC
    393 Interstate Blvd.
    PO Box 50276
    Sarasota, FL 34232
    T - 941-371-9900x220
    F - 941-371-9901


    THIS IS AN EFFORT TO EFFECT A SETTLEMENT AND ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE.




    Any thoughts? Should I contact them or just never answer and hope that they don't sue. I highly doubt they would sue over such a small amount, especially since I am in Canada.
    Last edited by Matt The Rat; 01-22-2013 at 03:15 PM.

  2. #2
    I am getting lots of good advice from the forum I linked to above. It is an interesting situation, but kina dry and boring for some. Not for me since I am in the middle of it.

  3. #3
    Gold Salty_Aus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt The Rat View Post
    I am getting lots of good advice from the forum I linked to above. It is an interesting situation, but kina dry and boring for some. Not for me since I am in the middle of it.
    Remove the image and ignore them.

    Any communication you have with them will not help, once they realize they've established a communication line with you it will just make them 'up the ante'.

  4. #4
    I removed the image the day I got the first letter. I have never contacted them. What I found out is a collection agency can only collect on a "debt". They have a "claim" against me so the debt collector is Shit Outta Luck. If Getty wanted to sue me it would have to be in a Canadian court. They wont do that for 1 image. Either way they are bastards.

  5. #5
    Gold Salty_Aus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt The Rat View Post
    I removed the image the day I got the first letter. I have never contacted them. What I found out is a collection agency can only collect on a "debt". They have a "claim" against me so the debt collector is Shit Outta Luck. If Getty wanted to sue me it would have to be in a Canadian court. They wont do that for 1 image. Either way they are bastards.
    Don't stress, they'll not take any action against you.

    If you do feel the need to send a reply... something like. "your bullying and extortion tactics have been referred to my legal counsel" should see them off.

    If they actually do send a collection agency which I doubt very much, record the conversation if legal to do so in your country, if they make any threats send Getty a settlement demand.
    If anything appears on your credit rating without a legal judgement they're in trouble.

    It's a scam to take advantage of people, they may take action only when people reply admitting guilt. (hence they know their costs will usually be met if they have an admission)

    Say nothing, if you get a knock at the door grab your mobile and start recording... act dumb and admit nothing.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty_Aus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt The Rat View Post
    I removed the image the day I got the first letter. I have never contacted them. What I found out is a collection agency can only collect on a "debt". They have a "claim" against me so the debt collector is Shit Outta Luck. If Getty wanted to sue me it would have to be in a Canadian court. They wont do that for 1 image. Either way they are bastards.
    Don't stress, they'll not take any action against you.

    If you do feel the need to send a reply... something like. "your bullying and extortion tactics have been referred to my legal counsel" should see them off.

    If they actually do send a collection agency which I doubt very much, record the conversation if legal to do so in your country, if they make any threats send Getty a settlement demand.
    If anything appears on your credit rating without a legal judgement they're in trouble.

    It's a scam to take advantage of people, they may take action only when people reply admitting guilt. (hence they know their costs will usually be met if they have an admission)

    Say nothing, if you get a knock at the door grab your mobile and start recording... act dumb and admit nothing.

    The last letter and email I got today was from a collection agency in Florida. But as I mentioned before a collection agency can only collect on a "debt" not a "claim"

  7. #7
    Gold Salty_Aus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt The Rat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty_Aus View Post

    Don't stress, they'll not take any action against you.

    If you do feel the need to send a reply... something like. "your bullying and extortion tactics have been referred to my legal counsel" should see them off.

    If they actually do send a collection agency which I doubt very much, record the conversation if legal to do so in your country, if they make any threats send Getty a settlement demand.
    If anything appears on your credit rating without a legal judgement they're in trouble.

    It's a scam to take advantage of people, they may take action only when people reply admitting guilt. (hence they know their costs will usually be met if they have an admission)

    Say nothing, if you get a knock at the door grab your mobile and start recording... act dumb and admit nothing.
    The last letter and email I got today was from a collection agency in Florida. But as I mentioned before a collection agency can only collect on a "debt" not a "claim"
    In some countries complying with a cease and desist notice is all you need to do on copyright matters less the infringement is flagrant. Your infringement I believe is not flagrant.
    I think Canada might fall into this legal category.

    They send these letters out in the hope people will be scared into paying or reply along the lines of "I'm so sorry I did not realize can we please negotiate a lower amount I can not afford this" Admission of guilt and they'll then hound you for payment, and charge extra for every letter they send as costs.

    Whoever is sending the collection demands get's a nice cut of any monies collected.

    Ignore, if you get another letter write "return to sender on it" after your dogs pissed on it.
    Last edited by Salty_Aus; 01-23-2013 at 02:59 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty_Aus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt The Rat View Post

    The last letter and email I got today was from a collection agency in Florida. But as I mentioned before a collection agency can only collect on a "debt" not a "claim"
    In some countries complying with a cease and desist notice is all you need to do on copyright matters less the infringement is flagrant. Your infringement I believe is not flagrant.
    I think Canada might fall into this legal category.

    They send these letters out in the hope people will be scared into paying or reply along the lines of "I'm so sorry I did not realize can we please negotiate a lower amount I can not afford this" Admission of guilt and they'll then hound you for payment, and charge extra for every letter they send as costs.

    Whoever is sending the collection demands get's a nice cut of any monies collected.

    Ignore, if you get another letter write "return to sender on it" after your dogs pissed on it.

  9. #9
    I live in Canada & got the dreaded Extortion Letter. Before I researched it; I sent back a quick note saying it was unintentional; through a third party; & removed instantly. I did NOT offer to negotiate. Now I just received an email from their bogus collection agency "ncsipsolutions". I am a one-person business (Ltd), absolutely can NOT afford to pay & don't know what to do. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated. I am even more worried now after reading the part about not writing them back. (Forum Newby so apologies if I just posted this in the wrong place)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Badger27 View Post
    I live in Canada & got the dreaded Extortion Letter. Before I researched it; I sent back a quick note saying it was unintentional; through a third party; & removed instantly. I did NOT offer to negotiate. Now I just received an email from their bogus collection agency "ncsipsolutions". I am a one-person business (Ltd), absolutely can NOT afford to pay & don't know what to do. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated. I am even more worried now after reading the part about not writing them back. (Forum Newby so apologies if I just posted this in the wrong place)

    Pm me your phone number if you want to discuss further.

    I received a total of 2 letters from the collection agency. I have never replied to any correspondence from them or Getty. Collection agency's can only collect on a "debt" and not a "settlement offer", and that is what they are trying to do. In my case the collection agency said they will pass it on to the Getty legal department. I an not going to respond at all. I highly doubt they will sue a Canadian over 1 image.

    Check out this site for more good info:

    http://www.extortionletterinfo.com/

    check out there forums.

  11. #11
    Patent & copyright trolls. It's a great gig.

    Have a friend who battles them for a living at Motorola's personal device division.

    For the rest of us, here's an awesome podcast that gives you an insight into this world.
    NPR This American Life "When Patents Attack".
    Interesting and entertaining.

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...patents-attack

    Moneyback guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.

     
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      Crowe Diddly: NPR rep
    Last edited by Sanlmar; 09-20-2013 at 05:47 PM.

  12. #12
    NoFraud Poker Room Manager Belly Buster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanlmar View Post
    Patent & copyright trolls. It's a great gig.

    Have a friend who battles them for a living at Motorola's personal device division.

    For the rest of us, here's an awesome podcast that gives you an insight into this world.
    NPR This American Life "When Patents Attack".
    Interesting and entertaining.

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...patents-attack

    Moneyback guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.
    Interesting listen. I had heard about patent hoarders and the software patent nuclear arms race / mutually assured destruction argument before.

    A good example of value destruction in the economy.
    Quote Originally Posted by MumblesBadly View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene Hunt
    NoFraud Online Poker Room: http://nofraud.pokerfraudalert.com:8087. For password resets and reload requests PM me.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Badger27 View Post
    I live in Canada & got the dreaded Extortion Letter. Before I researched it; I sent back a quick note saying it was unintentional; through a third party; & removed instantly. I did NOT offer to negotiate. Now I just received an email from their bogus collection agency "ncsipsolutions". I am a one-person business (Ltd), absolutely can NOT afford to pay & don't know what to do. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated. I am even more worried now after reading the part about not writing them back. (Forum Newby so apologies if I just posted this in the wrong place)
    I've been involved with this for the last year, and just received another notice after about an 8-month absence. I did some legal investigation online. Under Ontario's Consumer Protection Branch, the image doesn't fall under the definition of a saleable item - it was unlabelled (no watermark) unpriced, etc. By that definition, Getty has no claim to compensation. One could argue that if Getty allows its property to be freely available to the public and unlabelled then it is a case of "finder's-keepers", if it is the case that Getty is knowingly distributing their images freely online and then extorting money from unwitting users then there is a case of a serious fraud (this is what I suspect). However, they cannot fix a price that is not agreed upon to because the value of the offence would be set in a court settlement. You can't charge someone arbitrarily for something that they did not agree to pay unless you are the mafia. There are myriad reasons why Getty has no claim to compensation, they are merely hedging their bets by assuming if they contact 100,000 people, 1% will pony-up. It is a criminal conspiracy to defraud the public in my view, and one could argue that in court. Either way, the statute of limitations (in Ontario anyway) is 2 years if after a year they haven't filed suit, I don't imagine they will.

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