Could this be the end of Copyright troll Getty Images?

1 Billion ( with a very big “B” lawsuit files against Getty Images…
for you guessed it copyright infringement!

I’m a day late and a dollar short, but I’m glad I’m not Getty Images, talk about an “Oh Shit” moment…

Here are some of the highlights of the comlaint, it is my hope that the photographer has the wherewithall to see this through and not let Getty images weasel out with a settlement, but I suspect that is exactly what will happen. It is also my hope that those that have prevosly paid Getty for use of these images are either refunded or band together to form a class action against Getty Images.

We’ve been reporting on Getty Images and their extortion scheme for years now and have always recommended people not blindly take them at their word, even if they threaten suit. This is exactly why, Getty is notoriously sloppy in the book-keeping department, and no one knows including Getty Images, what images they own or have the right to collect for….onto the nuggets!

  • This is a copyright lawsuit brought by distinguished American photographer Carol M. Highsmith under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), 17 U.S.C. §§1202(a), 1202(b) and 1203, based upon the Defendants’ gross misuse of Ms. Highsmith’s photographs –more than 18,000 of them.
  •  In December 2015, Ms. Highsmith received a letter addressed to her nonprofit organization from the Defendants accusing her of copyright infringement and demanding payment for displaying one of her own photographs on her own website. See attached Exhibit A.
  • Ms. Highsmith subsequently learned that the Defendants have been sending out similar threat letters to other users of her photography, and that Getty and Alamy are purporting to sell licenses for thousands of her photographs on their commercial websites.
  • Through the United States Library of Congress (“Library”), Ms. Highsmith had previously given the public the right to reproduce and display all the photographs at issue in this lawsuit, for free.
  •  The Defendants are not only unlawfully charging licensing fees to people and organizations who were already authorized to reproduce and display the donated photographs for free, but are falsely and fraudulently holding themselves out as the exclusive copyright owner (or agents thereof), and threatening individuals and companies with copyright infringement lawsuits that the Defendants could not actually lawfully pursue.
  • Defendants’ violations of 17 U.S.C. § 1202 entitle Ms. Highsmith to recover, among other things, and if she so elects as provided in 17 U.S.C. § 1203(c)(3)(B), “an award of statutory damages for each violation of section 1202 in the sum of not less than $2,500 or more than $25,000.”11. Getty has committed at least 18,755 separate violations of 17 U.S.C. § 1202, one count for each of the 18,755 Highsmith Photos appearing on Getty’s website. Thus, Ms. Highsmith is entitled to recover, among other things, and if she so elects, aggregate statutory damages against Getty of not less than forty-six million, eight hundred eighty-seven thousand five hundred dollars ($46,887,500) and not more than four hundred sixty-eight million, eight hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($468,875,000).
  • The unlawful conduct complained of herein is not Getty’s first violation of the DMCA, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 1202. Getty was found by this Court to have violated 17 U.S.C. § 1202 within the last 3 years, and ordered to pay over $1 million in damages.

    Here is the link to the entire complaint

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Online resources:

Ars Technica






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