My name is John MacDonald I am an independent publisher and photographer who was unwillingly drawn into this fiasco. As someone who respects copyrights and is adamantly opposed to copyright infringements, I have no problems with someone defending their copyrights. Actually I worked hard to get the 1988 Copyright Laws changed in UK and was subsequently “blacklisted” by the largest magazine publishers in London for my efforts.
However, there is a “right” way and a “wrong” way to handle things.
I admit that this was initially embarrassing to me professionally. But I am not going to hide it. I am supposed to know copyrights well and prevent such infringements from occurring. However, my sense of justice is stronger than my sense of professional embarrassment as is evidenced by the creation of this website.
Upon receiving my copy of the Getty Images Settlement Letter in June 2010 with a “settlement fee” of £1,800 ($2500) for an image mistakenly used for a mere 1 month. I quickly researched this phenomena on the Google and Bing search engines. It quickly became apparent to me that I was not alone and there are many victims like myself. Others who had fallen victim to one of countless unscrupulous web banner, template, and graphic designers from India (and other similar countries that habitually and deliberately disregard and violate copyrights) that profit by stealing licensed images and incorporating them into their “creations” (web templates, web banners, and web graphics) and reselling them to their customers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia.
Initially fearful of the Letter, I became angry about how I was being treated with very little consideration. I understand the concept that “ignorance is no excuse”. However, in practical terms, intent always matters and people and businesses must co-exist civilly with one another in this world and you must pick and choose your battles. There is a difference between people who infringe intentionally and willfully and those who do not but the copyright extortionists will NEVER admit to this.
Do people truly want to make enemies with other people who might also be part of the customer base? It appears Getty Images and their ilk answer is most certainly “yes” and they don’t care. They made an enemy out of me. I didn’t take this lying down and cannot be expected to pay for other people’s criminal actions (the Indian web banner, template, and graphic designers.) Common sense must prevail here.
Because of my unpleasant experience with Getty Images and the kind help I got from others, I have become an advocate for small business owners who have received such letters. I have also personally taken a position to boycott the stock photo Industry.
About Getty Images Letters Website
This website is for anyone who has been sent a settlement demand letter from Getty Images or indeed any photo library and would like some help. Want to know more about Getty Images Letters website? See our home page I think we say it all there but if you have any suggestions to make this website easier to use please feel free to let us know.