Since 1996 I have been the owner / operator of Web Design of Palm Beach, Inc. We offer web hosting services, web development, custom programming , ecommerce solutions and design. We primarily cater to small – mid-size businesses and non-profit organizations, offering affordable prices and outstanding personal customer service and support, which has become our signature.
So you’re probably wondering why and how I decided to get involved in the entire copyright trolling, extortion demand letter situation? Read on and eventually I’lI get there, but first it’s important to understand my postition on copyright.
I am an online content creator, I fully understand and respect copyright, and I should also mention that I protect my Intellectual Property as well. Along with being a web developer, I am also a photographer, I do not make money from my photography, nor do I plan to anytime soon. With that being said, and before anybody opts to start a flaming war, on the fact that I don’t earn a living from photography, and that I have no right doing what I do, and that I’m hurting professional photographers all across the globe by beating back copyright trolls, I’ll reiterate I fully understand copyright and I respect it and those that protect their IP. What I object to is the ways in which some of these stock photo agencies are using the law to their advantage to line their pockets with cash..more on this later…
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but these stock houses are no longer making money selling stock images, between micro-stock appearing, traditional publishing disappearing and the fact that nowadays everybody and their mother owns a digital camera, the market for stock photo’s is quite frankly in the toilet, especially Rights Managed images.
So now onto how I became involved with Getty Images and copyright trolling.
Back sometime in 2009, I received the typical Getty Demand Letter for 2 images that appeared on my business site. After immediately removing the images I called Getty Images, explaining to them that the images in question were indeed purchased as part of a template package. They then demanded I show proof of this purchase. Unfortunately I did not have an invoice or a receipt , as this template package was purchased some 12 years prior from when I first went into business. I DID however still have the license that came with the package, which I supplied to Getty images.. Keep in mind this all transpired in a 10 minute time frame… The Getty collection clerk, promptly responded to me on the phone that “anybody could create this license”… While I suppose it could be plausible to create a “bogus license” it would certainly take longer than the 10 minutes I was on the phone with this hack. It was at this point Igot pissed and realized this was going nowhere, and ended the conversation, stating I would follow up with her in the near futrue..I did some quick research and found extortionletterinfo.com and the letter program offered by Oscar Michelen. Rather than dick around with the ass-hats at Getty Images, I opted to spend the 150.00 on the letter. Looking back on it now just over 3 years later, and being much moe educated on the matter, I would probably choose to fight this a bit differently if it were to happen again today.
Needless to say at some point I made a conscious decision to become an advocate, and to “do my part” in the ELI community, I was still pissed ( still am today to a degree) and was tired of seeing examples of innocent infringement, as well as Getty Images and the other trolls, twisting and using the law to make money. You can rest assured that as long as there is a place for ELI and as long as we continue to see these trolls operating I will continue to be an advocate and bring this issue to the public.