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Thread: Getty Images May be Suing Web Site Owners

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    TopDogger's Avatar
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    Getty Images May be Suing Web Site Owners

    I saw this blog post about Getty Images seeking out web sites using their images and are threatening to sue for the illegal use of their images.

    Are Getty Images suing you? How to avoid getting sued by Getty | Denting My Universe

    Has anyone received one of the letters from Getty?

    If you are using images from some free graphic sites or Google Images, be aware that the images may not be properly licensed and you might be exposing yourself to a law suit.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    All have sinned...
    Everyone that has a site or a blog has probably taken the easy route of right-click and grab at some point, and few consider the possible ramification. In the eyes of the law it's just theft of someone else's property. And it's SO easy... like walking down the street with everyone's car keys in the ignition and doors unlocked.

    But Ignorance is NOT bliss
    When I first got on the web I didnt even know it was an issue, but ignorance definitely is NOT bliss. If it seems a pain to take one's own pics or obtain them legally, imagine how much more painful getting a surprise bill for thousands of dollars might be. Fortunately I got warned by friends with a successful site who started getting demand letters. They didnt have to pay up a lot before they figured out they needed to follow the rules.

    Thanks for posting this. We all need to avoid falling into this trap.
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    I use a lot of images.
    But I try to hunt down the source to link back to.
    The thing I find is that a lot of blogs have images that are not linked back to original source, or do not say getty images.

    I think that getty is just wanting to make money with little work.
    Like all other companies on the net, they are looking for new ways to get more money.

    And I bet if getty went to tumblr?
    They would make a freaking fortune!

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    I wonder if any of the images that are submitted to Getty Images are without permission by the people in the photo etc. ? There should be release contracts signed by all involved if they are going to start legal actions.

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    My first thought was about the possibly hundreds of thousands of web site owners that think Google Images are in the public domain and are free for anyone to use. I am surprised that Google has not been sued for grabbing images from web sites without permission and then posting them where they are easily distributed to numerous web sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by iowadawg View Post
    I use a lot of images.
    But I try to hunt down the source to link back to.
    The thing I find is that a lot of blogs have images that are not linked back to original source, or do not say getty images.
    Linking to the source does not get you off the legal hook in any way for copyright infringement unless that is part of the Terms of Use for the site where you "borrow" the images. You still need permission to use any site's images or content. If the site owner does not offer it, you don't have it. I think many site owners would gladly accept the backlink, but that might be changing in the new post-Penguin environment.

    Also, think about situations where a site owner properly licenses images from Getty, Corbis, iStockPhoto or other image sources. They have the right to use the images, but you do not--and you would not necessarily know that the image is licensed.
    Last edited by TopDogger; 1 June, 2012 at 23:54 PM.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Hmmm....
    Maybe google grabs the images in hopes that others will copy them and use them.
    Then when getty sues the site owner and wins, they split with google?

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    TD is right about attribution not being sufficient if the pic isnt in the public domain or offered via unpaid license.

    There's a post pinned atop this forum {right beneath this one} that lists various sources for images... and divides them between free vs paid. See Where to Get Graphics For Your Web Site

    In the early days of the net this issue was largely ignored because it was tough to track. As tracking becomes easier... so does cashing in on those that ignore the rules. Just the way it is... if somebody else owns an image, they get to make the call on terms of use. It's their property.
    -- Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup. --

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    There's some cases where you are allowed to post images under the "fair use" exemption of copyright law. Fair use includes commentary, criticism, and news reporting.



    Read more: U.S. Copyright Office - Fair Use

    The smell test is whether the site is commercial in nature. A business really needs to be careful on what images they post to their website and they should know the original source of the images.

    A lot of times I just link to a Youtube video. It saves me any headaches.

    Amazon is a good source of images as well. Just join their affiliate program and you can use the images on site. You may may a few bucks as well should you make a sale.
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    are they going to sue pinterest then? i just pinned it.

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    TopDogger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogart View Post
    There's some cases where you are allowed to post images under the "fair use" exemption of copyright law. Fair use includes commentary, criticism, and news reporting.

    Read more: U.S. Copyright Office - Fair Use

    The smell test is whether the site is commercial in nature. A business really needs to be careful on what images they post to their website and they should know the original source of the images.
    Agreed. But fair use does not cover web site owners who swipe images or content from other sites simply because they want to post them on their own sites. There has to be something closely related to the original work, such as an article referring to the original image or article. A link to the original site is not enough to allow you to use copyrighted work in its entirety. Parodies alter the original work and it must be obvious that it is a parody. "Potions" generally means excerpts.

    Any site that contains advertising can be called "commercial" because the site owner earns an income.

    Many aspects of copyright law are as clear as mud, which is what attorneys prefer because they can make lots of money fighting in court on either side of the issue.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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