Monday, December 9, 2013
The Getty Images Scam - Fear Not
The Getty Images scam essentially uses unscrupulous and deceitful techniques to scare website owners and webmasters into paying for images the company asserts were used without permission or used improperly. By way of some very underhanded rules and regulations regarding the images they claim to own and lease to webmasters/web owners, Getty images begins sending harassing letters to those who've utilized the company's images on their website. This includes those persons and companies who have done so legally by paying for their usage.
The letters received by webmasters and website owners include threats of legal action and more often than not a demand for restitution. While most professional webmasters are aware of the scam and the legality and ethics behind it most website/business owners do not. If you've ever received any notices from Getty images that demand payment or threaten you with action of a litigious nature you have two options. One, contact your lawyer and have them send notice to Getty images at which point Getty images will almost certainly back off. Secondly you can simply choose to ignore their baseless threats and accusations.
What website owners need to keep on the forefront of their minds when they are being harrased by Getty images is that,despite what the threatening letters claim, they don't have to pay anything. Getty Images must first provide evidence that an image was utilized improperly and violated copyright law. Next they must seek legal judgment and win against the accused before any money has to be paid. Those business/website owners that contact Getty images to resolve the issue without ever having gone to court are nothing short of fools as are those who pay outright. This is because the scam Getty Images runs is designed to coerce individuals and frighten them into doing this very thing. In all honesty however Getty Images not only has to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that their images were utilized in an improper and illegal manner but actually take the accused to court which to date they have done only once.
Getty Images must spend thousands of dollars to pursue legal action in order to obtain damages for one or two images. Even if they were to ever be compensated by a court the amount would be dramatically less than what they demand in the threatening letters. It makes no financial sense to spend thousands of dollars suing legal action when one or two images would net them far less than they spent in going to court.
So what does all this mean for webmasters and website owners? It means that you shouldn't ever pay Getty images anything out of pocket unless there is a judgment against you!. Those webmasters and more commonly website owners who pay out of fear are playing right into the scam. The scam is nothing more than legalized form of extortion that relies on ignorance, a perceived convenience, and fear above all else. In an effort to do the right thing and to play it safe any website owner that receives threatening letters from Getty images should immediately contact their webmaster and have any of the alleged offending images removed and replaced in order to avoid further hassles. Often however Getty images will continue sending threatening letters even after any alleged misused photos are removed.
Here at Next Revolution SEO we never utilize any images that aren't either created in-house or obtained/used with permission. It is also our policy to remove any images that anyone claims are being misused or in violation of copyright. This is done in order to protect not only our company but our clients and their companies as well. Should you have any questions about the Getty Images scam or about our search engine optimization services please don't hesitate to contact us, we would be happy to assist you.
Next Revolution SEO specializes in the following:
Corona SEO, Murrieta SEO, and Orange County Search Engine Optimization
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433 Merced Ct.
Corona Ca. 92880